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Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter - Starr Hill Brewery

Not Rated.
Boxcarr Pumpkin PorterBoxcarr Pumpkin Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
77
okay

96 Reviews
THE BROS
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(Send Samples)
Reviews: 96
Hads: 406
rAvg: 3.32
pDev: 15.96%
Wants: 6
Gots: 43 | 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: 96 | Hads: 406
Photo of Hopfenpeter
3.83/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Could not wait to try this interesting approach of a pumpkin inspired beer.
Poured into my crystal mug, the beer is dark brown in color and produced a bubbly dark tan head about one finger high. It dissipates fast and leaves little lacing.
The smell is of pumpkin spice and roasted malts.
Tasting the beer he pumpkin spice flavors dominate the front, quickly to be replaced by a good dose of roasted malt. In the finish here are faint dark chocolate flavors, but they are veer powered by the roasted malt.
Overall a medium bodied beer, very drinkable and a good seasonal fall beer. (581 characters)

Photo of claspada
3.73/5  rDev +12.3%
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. (978 characters)

Photo of teromous
2.08/5  rDev -37.3%
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. (945 characters)

Photo of mckenziac
2.98/5  rDev -10.2%
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. (1,096 characters)

Photo of Justin23060
3.58/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Let me preface this by saying that every pumpkin beer I have tried so far tastes like old man's after shave (some more than others). Because of this, it's a style I've stopped seeking out. This came to me as a freebie, though, so here goes (thanks again Mike).

A vigorous pour produced a half finger head that was gone in an instant. Almost no light gets through with just a bit of chestnut color at the edges. The spice smell is dominant but milder than other pumpkin beers. There is a bit of roastiness coming through as well. At first taste the spices are overwhelming aftershave like I mentioned. But about halfway through with a slight warm the spices burned off and the porter shinned through. Not bad at all. Mouthfeel is right about in the middle. I do appreciate the shorter linger thanks to the dry start and finish.

After trying this with some graham crackers I am really diggin' this stuff. If this beer had some of those qualities the graham cracker imparts it would be killer.

Although this style is not my favorite, Boxcar is definitely my favorite Pumpkin offering so far. I'd definitely recommend it, but only with the graham crackers. (1,157 characters)

Photo of DaveBlack
3.11/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark, not a whole lot of head and almost no lacing. At the edges the beer has a reddish tint. Basically, it looks like a porter...

S: Lots of pumpkin pie spices dominate, and darkly roasted malts. There is a smoky and oak aroma as well, which compliments the pumpkin pie spices nicely.

T: Not at all what I was expecting. While the spices dominate on the nose, it's the malts that carry the flavor. Burnt toast and coffee up front, followed by malt bitterness and then the kiss of cinnamon and allspice.

M: The body is fairly light for a porter, and it is buoyed by a lot of carbonation.

O: Not a bad beer, but not a particularly good one either. The spices take a backseat to the malts, and the pumpkin is nowhere to be found. That being said, it's an easy drinking beer, and the smoky flavor and spices make it a pleasant fall beer. (843 characters)

Photo of Darkmagus82
2.73/5  rDev -17.8%
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. (1,009 characters)

Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
4.17/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured deep, dark brown (black unless I held it up to sunlight) with a light brown, fizzy head that was 1-finger thick, but with average retention and not much lacing.

S: With the first whiff, spices dominated -- cloves & allspice primarily. Next I detected the pumpkin fruit itself, with bready malt following. A final, deep whiff captured the hops far in the background.

T: Very nicely balanced. The sweet & grainy malt is first, followed by rich pumpkin notes. There are also the cocoa, coffee, and dried fruit notes that I often associate with porters, although more muted than I'd expected (which is why I rated taste a 4 rather than higher -- it isn't as faithful to the style as it could be). Hops made their bitter appearance late, and not in a big way -- just enough to balance out the malt. The spices which dominated the aroma are present throughout, but more as a pleasant background flavoring than the dominating force that many pumpkin beers fall victim to.

M: Very refreshing. Starts out very moist, until the ample carbonation bursts forth on the palate. It becomes crisper as it moves back in the mouth, and after swallowing has a dry finish. Really nice.

O: Although I marked it down slightly for failing to fully live up to the "porter" name, it was a tasty and refreshing beverage that came highly recommended from the beer cicerone at the store, and one that I'd recommend highly to anyone looking for a pumpkin beer. Sadly, I grabbed the last bottle on the shelf in the store, for I would have eagerly gone back for more of this excellent example of the style. (1,589 characters)

Photo of RodneyFarva
2.67/5  rDev -19.6%
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. (758 characters)

Photo of crwrunner
2.85/5  rDev -14.2%
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. (968 characters)

Photo of brewsadedotcom
3.47/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into pint glass

A - Very dark with almost in inch of a soapy head

S - Noticeable aroma of spice, very pleasant

T - Very smooth, somewhat creamy. Malty flavor with notes of pumpkin and nutmeg

M - Creamy, not overly carbonated. Very Smooth

O - Very nicely done pumpkin beer. Highly enjoyable (308 characters)

Photo of kylehay2004
3.28/5  rDev -1.2%
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. (449 characters)

Photo of LuthersMug
3.62/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - A very dark brown, almost black. Head was a bit fizzy, with little lacing.

S - Pleasant scents of pumpkin and spice.

T - Nice flavours of pumpkin and spice.

M - Felt a little bit thin and fizzy. Nice smooth finish.

O - A decent pumpkin beer. (252 characters)

Photo of PhageLab
3.63/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pilsner glass.

A - Dark brownish color, big head of off-brown froth on top. Retention and lacing were both very nice. Attractive brew.

S - Pumpkins, nutmeg, and pie crust, also some slight hints of chocolate malt.

T - Mildly bitter, malty, with some initial chocolate notes. Some mild pumpkin flavors and touches of clove shine through, but are ultimately muted.

M - A little thin bodied, mild carbonation level, and an oddly light feel.

D - Enjoyable porter, but needs more pumpkin flavor to live up to the name. Still worth trying. (552 characters)

Photo of KajII
3.23/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

[Best served in a Lager glass]

The pour was a very dark brown almost black with a large (2-3 finger) rocky tan head that was mostly diminishing and produced excellent lacing that was left sticking to the glass throughout.

The aroma was of a dark bread malt and a musty leathery yeast with notes of chocolate, coffee, nutmeg, pumpkin and a bit of cinnamon.

The taste was lightly bitter and malty with a hint of roasted coffee at first then slowly acquired a mild chocolate presence with a touch of pumpkin and nutmeg that progressed into a mild bitter finish. The flavor lasted only a short while after the swallow which slightly affected the overall taste experience.

Mouthfeel was just a tad under medium in body and creamy yet a little dry in texture with a nice soft carbonation.

Overall a decent robust Porter with a very nice aroma. Although there was more pumpkin and spices in the aroma than there was in the flavor. (928 characters)

Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Average looking, dark with not much head and so-so lace.

Smell is very lightly pumpkin with a touch of roasty malts and coffee, with addition of pumpkiny spices.

Taste is a little bolder than the smell, fresh pumpkin and spices are more forward with a side of roasty malts, coffee, and bitter chocolate.

There's surprisingly plenty of carbonation (despite the lack of head). Medium bodied and a touch slick as well as having a light tingle of carbonation. The aftertaste is spices and pumpkin. Finish is pretty dry.

This one certainly lives up to its name. (562 characters)

Photo of tone77
4/5  rDev +20.5%
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. (309 characters)

Photo of billab914
3.25/5  rDev -2.1%
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. (1,083 characters)

Photo of GeoJ
2.28/5  rDev -31.3%
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. (773 characters)

Photo of stckhndlr
3.04/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Almost black dark dark brown. Looks more like a stout. 1 finger head. Nothing really stands out.

S- Has a fresh pumpkin smell to it. Really more fresh cut pumpkin than those ones in a can. Sweet malts with some spice and nutmeg. kinda has a pumpkin coffee aroma the deeper you go.

T- some coffee malt flavor with just a hint of pumpkin. Pumpkin flavor is there but it is masked by a smokeyness. I just don't get a good flavor of pumpkin off this. Kind of a let down.

M- has a dry quality to it. mid body with a great amount of carbonation to it.

O- Overall this beer is just ok. An average beer that gives alot of promise in the smell but not much in the flavor. (670 characters)

Photo of mralphabet
3.46/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into Samuel Adams Pint Glass

A: Pours very dark brown.. almost black. About a fingers worth of tan head that settles to a ring with very spotty lacing.

S: Strong Pumpkin, spice and coffee notes here... More on the spicy side... nutmeg & allspice.

T: Start with a little toasted sweet malt, mid palate I'm getting a lot of coffee bitterness and spice. Finish has heavy bunch of pumpkin going on and it lingers in the aftertaste.

M: Mildly carbonated little sharp at the start but settles as it warms, overall medium bodied and gets creamier as it warms.

D: Very tasty and very drinkable, ABV does not seem any more than 5%... Nice mix of pumpkin and coffee. Another good beer from Starr Hill. (716 characters)

Photo of FenwaySquid
2.98/5  rDev -10.2%
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. (799 characters)

Photo of avalon07
3.25/5  rDev -2.1%
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. (593 characters)

Photo of WorldWideStout
2.42/5  rDev -27.1%
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. (420 characters)

Photo of Rhettroactive
2.93/5  rDev -11.7%
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. (1,492 characters)

Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter from Starr Hill Brewery
77 out of 100 based on 96 ratings.