Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter - Starr Hill Brewery

Not Rated.
Boxcarr Pumpkin PorterBoxcarr Pumpkin Porter

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98 Reviews
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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 kylehay2004
3.28/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Enjoyed at the brewery.

A: single finger head with decent lacing on a clear very dark brown body.

S: smokiness mixes with pumpkin to make a soapy aroma which you have to really focus on to separate the two out.

T: a unique beer with smokey, light roasted malts intermingled throughout by musty pumpkin flavors.

M: light to medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: a unique beer which is memorable but could be better. Overall a nice brew.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.8/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at Rustico during this beer's Northern Virginia debut. Served in a tulip alongside the free Starr Hill pint glass.

Pours a very deep brown with a two-finger tan head and some strong spotty lacing on the way down. Thin collar throughout. The nose carries a good amount of spice, though it's balanced by some nice roasted malt and dark chocolate. Pumpkin character comes through a bit, though it's more from the spicing. The flavor carries some roasted malt and pumpkin-pie spice. Also there is a good amount of dark chocolate. Medium body with a nice cask carbonation. Slight spice in the finish. Well done.

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Photo of brentk56
3.16/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear coffee color with a modest head; very nice retention and lacing effects

Smell: A melange of pumpkin, pie spice and brown bread elements are present, though the combined effect is not particularly appealing

Taste: Brown bread, at first, with the pie spice (mace, nutmeg and ginger) elements kicking in by mid-palate; the pumpkin flavor builds, after the swallow, along with a bitter medicinal character that lingers in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: An interesting idea that doesn't really come off very well, in my opinion, as the flavors tend to clash and the medicinal element adds an off-flavor that is disconcerting

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Photo of oberon
3.65/5  rDev +9.6%

Pours a chestnut brown with a rather large blooming light beige head atop,no lace is left behind.Mild pumpkin spice and chocolate in the nose.A little light in the feel,pumpkin pie spice on the palate with a hint of roast and chocolate.If it were not for the feel I think this beer would be very good,as is it's not bad.A little maligned in my opinion.

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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 Kegatron
3.08/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a deep and dark but still clear ruby in the glass, topped with a couple fingers of thick and foamy light mocha colored head. This retains with a smooth thin creaminess that dots the sides of the glass with spotty lacing. The aroma smells of spice and pumpkin up front, which then gives way to a combination of roast and sweetness that give the overall nose a dark and sticky feel in the back of the nostrils.

The taste is raw pumpkin up front, segueing into some sweetness and an earthy hop presence across the back. Spices and dark roast ride throughout the profile, with this finishing leafy, bitter and smoky on the finish. Those hops and roast really start getting raw and burnt feeling on the finish the more this warms up. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and tight on the tongue, giving way to more of a firm creaminess across the back. The overall fee here is equal parts crisp and smooth.

This was just average. While initially feeling balanced this got a bit too aggressive feeling the more this warmed up and in the end I just wasn’t nearly as impressed with this as I was hoping. There are better Pumpkin Ales out there on the market right now.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.84/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I tried this bottle at FoodStruck York -served chilled in a plastic cup.

The color is black with brown hue at base and light tan head. The smell is spice dominant with a ginger presence. The feel is good with a mix of malt and spice with mostly dry finish.

The taste is a good mix of dark malt with a slight nutmeg/ginger combination of pumpin spice. The body does not lead me to believe it has actual pumpkin in it but it tastes very good. Overall a nice spiced porter more or less.

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Photo of chinchill
3.35/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle with a pkg date of 17 Sept 2014.

Pours very dark brown, nearly opaque in my snifter, with a moderate size tan head that soon reduces to a ring.

Aroma: not good right out of the bottle when notes of decayed vegetation were quite obvious, but these soon vanished leaving a spicy aroma with faint roasted grains.

Flavor: a spiced (nutmeg and other pie spices), but otherwise mild porter with hints of pumpkin.

Feel: near full body; medium carbonation that may be a tad higher than optimum.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.32/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Served on-tap at First Street Draught House in Winston-Salem, NC

Note: Now the name is spelled as Boxcarr with the extra R on the end.

A: Pours an opaque but clear very dark brown to black in color with moderate amounts of visible active carbonation and some dark cola brown highlights. The beer has a finger tall creamy tan head that slowly reduces to a thick film covering the majority of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of chocolate and roasted malts with pumpkin pie spices (allspice, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon) and a light hint of pumpkin.

T: Upfront there is a light to moderate flavor of roasted malts followed by moderate flavors of pumpkin pie spices (nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and cinnamon). There are more subtle flavors of pumpkin and some light flavors of bittersweet chocolate.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Light amounts of dryness, likely from the spices.

O: This beer is interesting, a little more porter than pumpkin but that is OK with me. It seems like this beer needs to be refined a little bit to make it a touch easier to drink - the spice flavors/mouthfeel make this one that you don't want to have multiple in a session.

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Photo of billab914
3.25/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish glass. It poured pretty close to black in color with a thin, creamy head barely covering the beer.

The aroma shows good amount of pumpkin pie spice and canned pumpkin to it. I get some sweeter, malty notes to it as well with just a hint of chocolate to it. Pretty appealing aroma for the style overall.

The taste is where things start to fall apart for me. I get a good amount of roasty, bitter, slightly burnt flavors to. The spices and roastiness just don't mix well, it gives it more of a harsher, bitter spiciness. I get a little pumpkin or squash like flavor to it in the finish as well.

The mouthfeel is thin and somewhat watery with carbonation being high. Didn't enjoy the mouthfeel for the style. bodied with carbonation being moderate. Overall I didn't think it was a great pumpkin beer. The roasty, bitter flavors just didn't work well with the spices for me. I would have liked a little more chocolate, sweeter, malty flavors coming out of the porter instead. The flavors just didn't really compliment each other very well.

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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 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 BeerForMuscle
3.85/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Virtually black bodied beer, with a small beige lacing ring. Looks just like a schwarzbier.

S - Fall spices, nutmeg and cinnamon. Prevalent like in an imperial pumpkin beer, and tangled with the porter nuances. Dark, roasted malt, with a burnt/coal scent.

T - A mild dash of those fall spices, blended nicely with dark malty porter. Toasted black malt, a dry grain sweetness. The amount of spice is perfect, not overwhelming. The robust, toasted malty porter is rich and smooth.

M - Medium bodied and drying, the rich and bitter black beer feels smooth with the soft fizzy carbonation.

O - A really nice combination here. I'd say this tolerable amount of fall spices in this roasts brew is perfect alone or with a nice meal, on a cold day.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.43/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

- Pumpkin porter packaged on 7/30/13. consumed 10/21/13.

A: Dark mahogany pour produces a one finger dark walnut toned head of frothy texture. Good holding potential and speckled band lace. Moderate paced micro effervesce.

S: Spicy cinnamon, nutmeg, french toast, cloves and brown sugar sweetness delivered in a moderate rate of awareness.

T: Flavor was softly toasted pumpkin, light chocolate roast blending nicely together, with a spiciness of cloves and cinnamon. Decent earthy bitterness, lightly bitter, some fresh coffee, dry nutmeg and a light mention of vanilla. Sweetness of roasted grains come on the swallow followed by a dusting of nutmeg dryness and coffee.

M: Chewy mouthful, nice rate of carbonation comes about with nice warm roastiness on the inner cheeks. Good fullness, leave of earth coffee bitterness on the tongue.

O: Overall a decent try, the pumpkin quality itself is more evident on the nose, but takes a back seat flavor wise. Decent rich porter, bordering on stout quality with a good roasty coffee accent.

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Photo of tone77
4/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to travisnd for sending this beer. Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a very dark brown color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of pumpkin and spices. Taste is also pumpkin pie up front, some roasted malts, well balanced and tasty. Feels full bodied in the mouth and overall this is an enjoyable brew.

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Photo of claspada
3.73/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a translucent darkish brown color with a modest tan head that had some minimal retention and left some minor lacing.

Aromas begin with pumpkin pie spicing and a toasted brown bread presence. Lesser armounts of dark chocolate and roasted malt emerged more as it warmed.

The tastes begin with toasted brown bread with the pumpkin pie spice mixture once again (mace, nutmeg and ginger) kicking in by mid-palate. The starchy pumpkin flesh flavor builds, after the swallow, along with a minimal bitter generic dark roasted maltiness.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Finish is gently spicy and minimally roasty.

Overall, this is a decent attempt at a sessionable pumpkin alternative beer. A bit heavy on the roasted, bitter flavors don't work quite right with the pumpkin spicing. A more balanced chocolate malt flavor would have been a better complement. Wouldn't turn it down if offered to me during the fall seasons but won't seek it out either.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.15/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I have had a pumpkin stout already and it was pretty lackluster. I have some hope for this porter despite the low rating.

A - Really fizzy and what little 1/4 inch of off white head I got fizzed into nothing. Not a great start. Color does seem to be a fairly dark brown. Almost pitch except for the base with a mild red hue.

S - Very inviting I get my spice (cinnamon and nutmeg) yet the porter seems a bit muted only giving me a mild roast.

T - Kind of mediocre. On one hand it's a very lacking porter, mild chalky yeast and almost not chocolate. On the other hand it doesn't have near the amount of spice that I smelled.

M - Thin and lacking.

Overall I can confirm this is an average porter with mild (if any) spice. Pass on it if you can.

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Photo of avalon07
3.25/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a brownish color with ruby tints and a cloudy texture. There was a half inch of foamy head that quickly dissipated. Almost no lacing at all.

S: A very odd aroma of pumpkin, malt, coffee and chocolate.

T: Tasted of pumpkin up front, with a hint of malt, and coffee and chocolate in the finish. This is a decidedly weird and somewhat off-putting flavor combination.

M: An OK amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This is one of those beers that seems more like a failed experiment than a bad beer. Not awful, just misguided.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.24/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Things started off great with a blackish body and one finger head that slowly died with lace patches. Smell is not bad but I don't think pumpkin and cinnamon, possible nutmeg, should really be combined with bready, roasted malts as it seems to clash. The beer is even worse when it comes to taste/mouthfeel in terms of clash b/c the sweetness one expects from pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, not to mention slight spice, seem to gets bulldozed over by a slightly boozy roasted and breadlike malt base. Finishes a little haggard and not something I'll bother trying again although decent idea.

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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 jmdrpi
3.5/5  rDev +5.1%

served from the tap in a shaker pint glass

Black in color, white head. Aroma has a bit of the pumpkin pie spices - nutmeg, cinnamon. Taste is a mildly roasty porter flavor, with again the mild spices. Decent balance, the spice flavors are not overwhelming. Medium bodied. Overall decent for a "pumpkin" beer, but I wouldn't necessarily seek it out again.

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Photo of Suds
3.36/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

This pumpkin beer is a dark brow, almost black. The head is small, but a nice brownish tan. The smell is a medium intensify mix of spice and roasted malt. The combination is not usual, and the scents compete for attention. The result is good, but not great. The taste is heavily spice centered. It is a lighter beer, in body, than I would have wanted. It's not the kind of brew that I'd want many of.

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Photo of blackie
3.36/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a: deep brown in color, served in a wide chalice, head thin and short lived

s: pumpkin spice - nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove in particular, over a decent base porter aroma that carries dark roasted grain and some dark bitter chocolates, smooth and lacking any char, the combination reminds of sweet wooden tobacco boxes, some sweet toffee and maybe a buried ginger aroma, a bit underwhelming at first but more welcoming as it warms

m: lightly carbonated, body a lighter medium, maybe a touch thin to finish

t: aforementioned pumpkin spices, roasted grain with a touch of soured wood, some sweet toffee flavor, earthy, not quite up to par with the aroma, but decent

o: a little sloppy and/or gratuitous use of spice imo, not the best style application, but a drinkable effort overall, doesn't really combine to make it worthwhile

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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 Chaney
3.72/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Notched: Purchase before 2012 for brewery fresh taste.

A: Looks totally like a good porter: Dark, dark brown, with a slight mocha head that didn't have any staying power whatsoever. Kinda odd actually that the head disappeared a few seconds after the pour.

S: Sort of a charred, malt concoction, kind of buttery, with pumpkin spices: Nutmeg, cinnamon, and a slight hint of the gourd itself.

T: A light-medium bodied, without much "pumpkin pie" mixed with the roasted malts. Sort of a grainy finish, and this one didn't exactly scream, "Welcome to the harvest season!"

M: Kind of light, with lots of prickle... too much in my opinion, which leads me to believe that the carbonation is way off. No lacing on the glass whatsoever.

O: The idea of this brew was definitely better than it's full realization. Still, it's a nice brew and an interesting take on the pumpkin ale.

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