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Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter - Starr Hill Brewery

Not Rated.
Boxcarr Pumpkin PorterBoxcarr Pumpkin Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.

98 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 98
Hads: 422
Avg: 3.33
pDev: 33.33%
Wants: 6
Gots: 49 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Starr Hill Brewery visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
English Porter |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Thorpe429 on 06-29-2011

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 98 | Hads: 422
Photo of wac9
2/5  rDev -39.9%

this beer lacks the darkness of a porter i dont taste the porter i taste the pumpkin yeah so it doesnt stand out in a crowd vits doesnt out by it self its lacks a want vto come bvack to it its a shame it could have been wonderful but the word you look for is lacking this beer is lacking the great pumpkin taste that even linus wont wait up for

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Photo of corby112
2.02/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.75

Pours a dark chestnut brown color tht appears black and nearly opaque in the glass with faint mahogany edges and a half finger beige head that quickly settles into a thin ring. Minimal spotty lacin left behind.

Slightly smokey, robust dark malt aroma with a prominent autumnal spice presence. Strong roast character with hints of charred toast, oatmeal, coffee bean and dark chocolate. This is countered by heavy spices, especially allspice, coriander, clove and ginger. Some pumpkin purée in there as well with sweeter dark malt notes, notably chocolate and toffee. Somewhat artificial smelling with a overpowering potpourri scent that overwhelms the pumpkin. Smells like an overly spiced porter with just a touch of pumpkin.

Lighter bodied than expected with an overwhelming autumnal spice presence and acrid burnt malt flavors. I'm not picking up any pumpkin at all, just burnt malt and dry spice. Lots of pepper, clove and ginger without much else on the spice front to balance things out. Also, the malt character is lacking sweetness with overly dry charcoal flavor. Hints of ashtray, burnt wood and charred toast making this beer intensely dry and unpleasant. Even a little bit of pumpkin or sweeter malt flavor would help this beer but as is, it's a mess of a beer that I dumped down the drain.

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Photo of celticknot
2.06/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I thought to myself when I saw this beer sitting on the shelf "mmm that looks good but its starr hill cant imagine that would be good, maybe the brewing style will overrule" aaand my instincts were right.
A: looks like a standard stout/porter with no head but I've had good stouts/porters with no head
S: smells some what like it tastes only slightly better
T: Some would describe this beer having roasted or coffee tones while it has that they are poor and would be better explained as burnt tones. There is a little pumkin and spice flavor but it is obstructed by the poor attempt at roasted coffee tones.
M: too much carbonation not very smooth or full bodied like i would expect from a porter/stout

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Photo of teromous
2.08/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

A: The body of the beer is a dark opaque brown color, with a cappuccino colored head.

S: I pick up some spicy notes, like cinnamon and possibly clove. Other than that, I was surprised that it didn't have a real porter smell to it. It actually reminded me more of a Belgian Dark, when it comes to scent.

T: I don't like this at all. It tastes very watered down. I guess that I am tasting the pumpkin, because it has a definite vegetable taste to it. The spices are there and seem to be just right...but the rest of the beer is just wrong.

M: The mouthfeel is very bad. I was expecting a full mouthfeel from a porter, but this is very watered down. No real bitterness, no smoothness, no presence or oomph. Just very flat.

O: Overall I was pretty bummed about this beer. I expected it to be nice, considering that it is a fresh seasonal pumpkin beer. I was looking forward to a porter as well, but I guess I'll be left at the curb on that one.

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Photo of GeoJ
2.28/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Looks like a good porter should, but almost non-existent head.

Aroma was interesting - pumpkin and spices along with a decent whiff of somewhat burnt coffee

Taste was meh - reminded me of a eating a cheap pumpkin pie followed up with some bitter, TOO bitter, coffee.

Mouthfeel and aftertaste is where this brew lost me ... Thin, watery, too much carbonation. Attributes I really wouldn't expect, or abide, from a porter. And the aftertaste was just too much nasty bitterness that wouldn't go away.

I absolutely love porters and stouts. This is the first porter I've ever had that became a drain-pour after half a glass.

Maybe I caught a bad bottle?

With all the great porters/stouts out there, I won't be trying this again.

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Photo of johnnybgood1999
2.38/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Phenominal smell to this one. I get roasted pumpkin and a bunch of spice. On first sip the spices are almost gone. Still trying to figure out how so much spice is in the smell, but not in the taste. There is virtually no chocolate and little roasted malt, which I would expect in a porter. There is plenty of roasted pumpkin that doesn't mesh well with the rest of the beer. Mouthfeel is too thin and too carbonated and that's a bad combination.

Overall, just not pleasant. I might buy if I'm hard up for a pumpkin beer. This is too bad, as I love pumpkin beers and had high hopes for this. I tried it on multiple occassions, but it's not getting any better.

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Photo of WorldWideStout
2.42/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: Warm, dark brown body with a somewhat lighter than expected head that quickly recedes but leaves decent lacing.

S: Sort of like a mix between brett and cured pork.

T: Mostly the brett, less smokiness. A touch of chocolate in the middle. A little bit of maybe baking soda at the end, or perhaps Irish soda bread.

M: Pretty good. Some creaminess, enough carbonation to keep it from getting heavy.

O: Not so great.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.6/5  rDev -21.9%

12 ounce bottle - $1.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown body with a slim, shmeer of light beige foam.

Smell: Nominal notes, a bit bland, really, barely hinting at roast and toast and failing to deliver any expected pumpkin or spicing.

Taste: Washed out, watery roast in the fore with little in the way of supporting elements like chocolate, caramel or coffee accents. Minimal pumpkin flavor, restrained spice. Very, very low hop flavor, bitterness. Quietly, unashamedly closes out dry with the same simple roastiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Overall: Disappointing. Falls short at being a porter and at being a pumpkin-anything, leaving you with an essentially characterless beer that leaves you scratching your head wondering as to whether or not this was the intended final beer.

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Photo of gopens44
2.67/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A - Clear black? That make sense? That's kinda what it looked like to me anyway. Reddish brown demure head with decent lacing.

S - Big nutmeg attack with hints of sweet cream and coffee.

T -The tartness of this took my tongue by surprise at first with a follow up flavor of sour nutmeg with a chalky finish. Second mouthful yielded a very odd 7-Up flavor.

M - Super carbonated with a thin chalky finish.

O - Fairly absent of anything that could be construed as decent balance. I so very wanted to like this, but it wasn't to be. I'd love to be more of a homer for local beers, but this one is tough to take such a stand. BUT - They gave the pumpkin genre a shot and even did it with a less mimicked style (going porter), so here's to constructive criticism that inspires them to retool this for next year.

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Photo of RodneyFarva
2.67/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass

a: pours a deep dark chocolate color, one-inch tan head fading to a film

s: some pumpkin, but mostly cinnamon, a strong clove spice, and nutmeg. the spices really stand out here

t: fairly thin. some spice comes though, but far reduced compared to the nose. not much pumpkin. thin mouthfeel, pretty high carbonation.

o: I was wondering where Starr Hill was going to take this as a Pumpkin/Porter beer. I would not consider it a porter - almost no flavor of roasted malts, though obviously enough to make it dark. as far as pumpkin beers go, I divide them into two categories: spice-heavy beers, and pumpkin-heavy beers. This is a decent spice-heavy beer, though I think better described as a black lager with pumpkin spices.

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Photo of bensbeers
2.69/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Let me start by saying I'm not sure why this was called a porter. Was more ale-y than a porter or stout and should have been labeled an ale. Color was that of dark chocolate with a moderate sized head. Smell was sweet and spicey - brown sugar, molasses, nutmeg, cloves. Also thought there was a nice hint of roasted malts in the smell...then I drank it. The taste was similar to other pumpkin ales but completely overpowered by smoke flavor. I get that this is intended with the rauchbier style, but i'mnot sure that they were going for this. The pumpkin was evident in the taste but I was expecting more. Had a moderate amount of carbonation.

Overall, too smokey for my taste buds. The smell was the highlight of this brew. There are other pumpkin/fall seasonals that I prefer abd I probably won't try this one again. Cheers!

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Photo of Darkmagus82
2.73/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into pint glass

Appearance – Poured a deeper brown color with a big tan head. The head had decent retention fading over time to give only a lighter amount of lacing.

Smell – The aroma is heavy of a sweet pumpkin smell. Mixed with the pumpkin is the presence of some chocolate, roasted malt and a little bit of nutmeg and allspice.

Taste – The taste begins of roasted malt with a light hint of chocolate. A big pumpkin flavor hits the tongue immediately after the initial taste. It doesn’t combine with the roasted and chocolate flavors very well and when mixed with a light spice of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice the flavors really don’t meld. In the end a somewhat rotten roasted pumpkin flavor is left to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel- The body of the beer was on the thinner side with a carbonation level that was rather average.

Overall – A beer I certainly won’t go to again. The flavors had no compatibility/melding in this brew and resulted it too off a flavor.

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Photo of n2185
2.77/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours black with some faint mahogany hints around the edges and a finger of tan head that recedes into a thin ring with little lacing.

S: Some spices up front like clove and cinnamon followed by roasted malts and sweet chocolate. Some slight smoke notes as well.

T: Roasted malts at first with some light spice notes. There is a slight tartness in the middle of it and the finish has some char flavors and a watery finish.

M: Medium body and carbonation, but with a watery finish.

O: A pretty bland, boring beer with an odd tartness in the middle. Neither the porter nor the pumpkin aspects of this beer really stand out and it ultimately just falls flat.

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Photo of droomyster
2.81/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours black with one finger of light tan foam with decent retention. Aromas are entirely pumpkin spicy (cloves, cinnamon, etc.), but not the slightest whiff of anything that would tell a blind man he was sniffing an ale, which is a total failure in my book. Flavors are roasty and pumpkin pie like, with a typical porter finish. The majority of pumpkin ales that I've tried taste better than this, as do the majority of porters. In the end, the whole is less than the sum of its parts. Downplaying the spices and/or an intensifying of the primary malts would greatly enhance this beer.

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Photo of crwrunner
2.85/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Appearance- Very dark brown with a huge tan head.

Smell- Has a strong smell of something clove or nutmeg maybe. I can also smell some cinnamon. Whatever it is it has a nice crisp weather spice smell. It smells like a fall beer. I don’t smell anything that would usually resemble a porter.

Taste- Dosen’t taste anything like a porter. Has a strong taste of nutmeg and cinnamon and that is just about it. It leaves your mouth with a bit of a tingiling feeling the way mint would. I actually think I might taste a bit of mint in it. It also seems a bit on the light watery side in the after taste, kind of a little flat.

Overall- This is not really what I was expecting. I guess I was expcecting something with a strong chocolate taste that a porter usually has with a hint of pumpkin in it. Instead it just taste like water with cinamaon and nutmeg sprinkled in it. I am a little disappointed. This is my first pumpkin beer and hope I will find something better.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.88/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a very dark brown color. A nicely creamy khaki-colored head of two fingers crowns the body well. It doesn't feature the best retention for the style, however there's a nice patch of lacing down the side of the glass.

S: This is heavy on the pumpkin ale qualities, light on the porter ones. And even the former isn't that impressive. Light pumpkin and spicing are the dominating notes - there's little in the way of roasted malts, chocolate or coffee. Not bad, just rather unassuming.

T: The flavor is much the same way - the only dark qualities that I can really taste is the clean, roasted dryness of the finish. Mild, generic spicing opens things up, before it finishes with a slight roasted flavor. This is bland, to the point where it's drinkable nature can't make up for it.

M: Clean and dry on the finish...a quality that's hampered by the slight heft of the body itself. That's the only real problem with the feel. It's the boring flavor that harms drinkability more than anything. Carbonation isn't quite as blistering as some porters.

O: This one just bores me. While there's nothing wrong with it, there's nothing that pops out as being impressive, either. Basically it's a middle of the road, please the masses kind of beer that simply isn't for me.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
2.93/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

From 12oz bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 9/22/11
*From notes

A: Really solid velvety brownish-black hue. A good pour yields a 1.75 finger head and decent lacing.

S: Just too much spice on the nose. Give me some pumpkin, malty char, anything. Instead, it's one note all-spice, something I've encountered all too often with these so-called pumpkin beers.

T: Play it again, Sam. Just like the nose, it's all all-spice all the time (that's a lot of all's!) This comes across exceedingly lazy. Where's the pumpkin? I can hear the brewmaster now - "Oh here we go, this is the ticket! Let's hit Costco, buy up every bag of all-spice we can fit in our '71 VW Bus and dump it in this here porter. When all's said and done, we'll call it a pumpkin porter!"

M: Thin. Way too thin. Really, guys?

O: Staff Hill's Box Car Pumpkin Porter continues their trend of creating great beers on paper, yet putting out some of the most blasé suds I've encountered. This is as middle of the road and inoffensive as possible, targeting a market that simply gets off on drinking "crafty beer".

Note to owner: I want to like your brews, I really do. As a DC/Virginia native, I'll give your brewery as many chances as I can possibly stomach. So come on, put your heart into and create something really special, like what you've done with your Monticello Reserve. Even if I personally hate it, I'm sure to taste the love and passion put into the product. Because as it stands, all I typically taste is mediocrity.

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Photo of Zraly
2.97/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured two-finger head into Lagunitas "mason jar" glass. Fluffy mocha colored head atop of dark, almost opaque, ale. Smells a bit of spice, with predominate notes of cinnamon and pepper. Smells and looks good.

Taste-wise, this is much less than I was expecting. I detect a faint presence of gourd. The porter notes are not fully realized on the palate, and overall the flavor is not fully supported by enough pumpkin. There is some semblance of a porter: coffee and rich malt notes. But these thin out in the finish and there is an odd, slightly funky sour note in the finish, along with some spice notes. Not as smooth as it could be. This is a great idea on paper, but I would say the execution missed the mark. If it was a bit more balanced by way of the spice (i.e., add a bit more grain and gourd to the bill) , I'd say this would be a mighty fine VA ale. As it stands, it is a mediocre porter with some spice added. Mouthfeel is thin and lacks body.

I've eyed this several times before but always ended up buying something else. My Mom and her beau were in town for the weekend, and he loves a good porter; we thought we'd give this a spin. We bought a six pack and I think I can help finish it. But I don't think I will re-purchase it in the future.

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Photo of FenwaySquid
2.98/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12 oz. brown bottle, BBD of Jan 2012 notched into the label, poured into a Sam Adams glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep dark brown color, completely opaque but I can see some bubbles rising inside. The head formed creamy light brown but faded pretty quickly.

Smell: Clove and nutmeg with some pumpkin in the background.

Taste: Roasted malt with faint pumpkin and spice, again mainly clove. The finish is more of the same, lingering nicely.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, thin and watery. The carbonation was medium and blended okay.

Overall: Not enough flavor and way too thin. I had high hopes for this one, oh well. If you're new to pimpkin beers or dark porters in general this isn't a bad one to try. If you're looking for some big roasted malt or strong pumpkin flavors, go elsewhere.

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Photo of mckenziac
2.98/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Adams Boston Lager glass. Taken from a Starr Hill "Road Show" variety pack.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, nearly black color. Has large, fizzy, tan head that dissipates quickly down to nothing and leaves some spotty lacing.

Smell: Smells strongly of pumpkin pie spices and faintly of pumpkin. I was hoping for a little bit more of a strong pumpkin aroma here but it's just not there. Also, being a "pumpkin porter," I was hoping for more a roasted malt smell, but the spices are really the only thing going on here.

Taste: Has a light hoppiness to it which gives way quickly to a strong pumpkin flavor complimented by the usual pumpkin pie spices. The roasty porter flavor I was looking for in the aroma is a bit more present here.

Mouthfeel: A little bit light and watery for a pumpkin ale and a fall seasonal.

Overall: Meh. It's not BAD, it's just not that great. It's a subpar porter but a decent enough pumpkin ale. I like the idea of making a pumpkin porter rather than a traditional pumpkin ale but I think it could be done better than this.

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Photo of CrystalShipMS3
2.98/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This review is from notes taken when I had this on tap at a havest festival. I liked it enough to buy a six pack, unfortunately I was disappointed by the bottled stuff.

Appearance: Dark brown. The great dark tan head didn't stay for long but looked good at first.

Smell: Spices and some mild pumpkin. Bitter smell, coffee. Overall not a very strong aroma.

Taste: Spiced pumpkin and lingering coffee taste. Dark, but not especially complex. Some weird sour flavor... not sure what that's about and I didn't particuarly enjoy it. My notes say: "Why is it sour?" that about sums it up.

Mouthfeel: Avarage. Not sure what else to say? Very beer like feel... Just nothing special.

Overall: The word 'unexceptional' comes to mind. It was good, but not great. I'd have it again only if it were on tap.

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Photo of iheartmyTHO
3/5  rDev -9.9%

The mouthfeel is too watery to be a porter, in my opinion. You taste a hit a pumpkin, but the spices definitely overwhelm the rest, in a not so great way. It leaves an unpleasant bitterness on the palate.

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Photo of cmq103
3/5  rDev -9.9%

Picked up a 6-pack of this while visiting in VA.

A: Poured into a pint glass for tasting purposes. An average pour got me a nice ½” light brown head, for all of about a minute before reducing to a thin, almost non-existent ring. Very small carbonation bubbles pretend to be lacing, but not really. Kind of root beer looking in color.

S: You can definitely smell the spices right away, like nutmeg, cinnamon and some dark malt. I don’t really catch any pumpkin aroma, only the spices that would be added to a pumpkin pie.

T: Actually a porter with pumpkin spices. Slightly bitter initially followed by the aforementioned spices, then back to bitter finish.

M: Rather thin on the tongue, with moderate carbonation. Typically I like my porters a tad bit thicker and smoother.

O: An average fall beer from Starr Hill. I liked their "The Love" beer a lot better.

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Photo of IMFletcher
3/5  rDev -9.9%

Bottle pour. Nice nose, has some pumpkin spice going on, I was intrigued. Until I tasted it. There's not enough body here for a porter, and I wasn't convinced the flavor was pumpkin, and not just some random gourd. The finish is just meh. Not terrible, but not going to make anyone's list of top pumpkin beers.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The website calls it brown ale and the bottle say porter. I don't know.

Pours a rustic brown with a slight beige head. Though small it looks dense.

Aroma has a spicy pumpkin malt bill, but also has an off aroma. I don't think the aroma mesh all that well.

Taste finds a slight pumpkin pie spice pumpkin and some nutty brown malts. The aftertaste has a medicinal off taste that,really, runs through the whole experience.

To be quite honet it was pretty tough to get through and chucking it was an option but did not happen.
Boxcar doesn't work for me and the recipe should be tweaked in my opinion.

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Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter from Starr Hill Brewery
77 out of 100 based on 98 ratings.