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Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter - Starr Hill Brewery

Not Rated.
Boxcarr Pumpkin PorterBoxcarr Pumpkin Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.

105 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 105
Hads: 434
Avg: 3.33
pDev: 32.73%
Wants: 6
Gots: 51 | 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: 105 | Hads: 434
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 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 sommersb
3.24/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tasted On: 10-15-2012
Freshness: Not indicated
Packaging: 12 oz. brown bottle, twist-cap
Glassware: Balloon glass
Purchased: Single from Midtown, Nashville

Appearance: Black and opaque, capped with a nicely sized tan head. Very good lacing and head retention.

Smell: Sweet, dark malts, with some fruit/citrus character. I also get some sour and tart aromas.

Taste: Toasted malts and coffee flavors you'd expect are in this porter, but there is also the sourness as noted in the nose. I really don't taste any pumpkin or pumpkin spice traits.

Mouthfeel: Has a smooth and creamy texture and medium-to-high levels of carbonation. Body is medium. The finish is dry and combines roasted and smokey malts with some tartness.

Overall: This is an odd beer -- not what I expected based on the description of a pumpkin porter. I got some porter qualities, but no pumpkin, and then there was the unexpected sourness. The sour quality wasn't bad, but I don't think it was supposed to be there -- my guess is that this batch/bottle got infected by a bug.

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Photo of beer2day
3.67/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown pour with significant red and orange tints. 1/2 finger medium cream head. Not much retention. Thin sheets of lace.

Nose is lots of pumpkin and nutmeg. Hints of chocolate underneath, but really more about pumpkin.

The porter style of the beer hides deep beneath the stronger pumpkin flavor. Comes on strong and finishes stronger. Lots of nutmeg, too, along with pie spice. Chocolate comes through ever so slightly and would have liked that a little more in balance.

Feel is pretty substantial for the lower abv. More heavy than thick.

Overall, a nice addition to the pumpkin beer lineup and worth a shot if you like the style.

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

ST: 12oz poured into a pint glass.

A: Dark, almost black, brown with a thin, but fully covering, light brown head.

S: Earthy pumpkin and sweet malt match slight cinnamon and sligh smoke.

T: Malt, smoke, coffee, and a hint of pumpkin and smoke on the finish. It reminds me of pumpkin coffee.

M: Medium and dry

O: Every year I think I have had every pumpkin beer, and every year I find six more to buy. I know that most will be okay, though not great. A pumpkin porter appealed to me beyond the alliteration involved; a porter with a touch of earthy or sweet pumpkin seemed like a good idea. And it is; well, at least the idea is not bad. The pumpkin is present, slightly, in the finish. Otherwise, the smoke of the porter takes over most of the flavors.

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Photo of ckollias
3.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed a sample of this beer at the What’s up Chesapeake Beer Madness 2012

A: Poured a dark brownish-amber hue –with not much of a head – but it was a little sample.

S: Great malty pumpkin aroma with hints of pumpkin all-spice in the background.

T: More sweet than bitter with a malty pumpkin flavor with a some ginger, nutmeg, and all-spice in the backbone.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation.

O: This was a decent pumpkin porter – I like the smoothness and flavors.

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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 Hopfenpeter
3.83/5  rDev +15%
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.

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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 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 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 Justin23060
3.58/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

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Photo of DaveBlack
3.11/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

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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 TappaKeggaBrew
4.17/5  rDev +25.2%
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.

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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 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 brewsadedotcom
3.47/5  rDev +4.2%
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

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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 LuthersMug
3.62/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

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Photo of PhageLab
3.63/5  rDev +9%
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.

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Photo of KajII
3.23/5  rDev -3%
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.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.32/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

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Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter from Starr Hill Brewery
77 out of 100 based on 105 ratings.