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Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter - Starr Hill Brewery

Not Rated.
Boxcarr Pumpkin PorterBoxcarr Pumpkin Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.

106 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 106
Hads: 435
Avg: 3.33
pDev: 32.43%
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 106 | Hads: 435
Photo of sulldaddy
3.35/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Sampling a cellar temp 12 oz bottle poured into my snifter. THe beer pours a rich dark cola color with creamy beige head foaming up and fading to a sturdy edge layer soon after sampling.
The aroma is predictably spicy with nutmeg, clove and some cinnamon. A little sweet malt balances the spices but there dont appear to be any hops to be found on the nose.
First sip reveals an average body with smooth texture. the carbonation is fizzy and tingles my palate on each sip.
Flavor is mild with a little chocolate malt and some brown sugar sweet that then rolls to a bit of dry chalky flavor and then finishes with some cinnamon spice and a bit of cloves. Finish dries out a bit on my mouth after each sip.
The beer is average and I hoped it would have more malty porter backbone to boost the enjoyment, but there isnt really any flaws in this one. It just isnt exciting.

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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 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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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 Treyliff
3.13/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- pours a dark brown with just a hint of light coming through, good size creamy tan head with good retention and just a bit of lace.

S- pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin gourd, it smells very similar to a regular pumpkin ale. The only porter aroma I notice is just a bit of roasted malt.

T- the taste pretty much follows the aromas. If I was blind tasting this it would almost seem like a pumpkin ale. The finish leaves just a bit of chocolaty roasted malt on the linger but not much.

M- light body, low carbonation, slightly creamy finish, mouthfeel seems a bit thin for a porter.

O- I was a little dissapointed in this one. Porters and pumpkin ales are two of my favorite styles but this beer didn't mesh them very well. I've had home-brew pumpkin porters that blow this one out of the water.

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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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Photo of 57md
3.69/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance is dark brown with ruby edges and a finger of beige head. The nose has definite pumpkin notes. The flavor profile delivers on pumpkin but not as much as the nose might indicate. The roast profile is quite mild increasing slightly on the finish. This is tasty, but not terribly special.

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Photo of inlimbo77
3.13/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12oz, August '13

A: Dirty brown color. Pretty deep, but some reddish hues. Thin layer of off tan head. Some lacing bits.

S: Pumpkin flesh. Vegetal notes. Slight spices. Some chocolate and some light roast.

T: Again fleshy pumpkin. Slight light spice. Some cocoa notes.

M: Medium bodied.

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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 hophugger
3.25/5  rDev -2.4%

This "pumpkin" porter is almost too light to be a porter. Don't get me wrong, the flavor is very nice but a little on the light side. Plenty of pumpkin spices, almost too much and it overtakes the pumpkin flavor a tad too much. Overall, very drinkable but seems to lack a touch more robust and pumpkin tastes

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Photo of secondtooth
3.67/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Coal-black with a thick foamy head of off-white bubbles. Lace slight and not too noticeable.

Nose is heavy on the spice -- I get some clove and nutmeg, alongside the requisite pumpkin. Nice and appealing.

Taste is an unusual mix of roasty malts and pumpkin & spice. Very flavorful, and lighter in body than expected. I was not sure how the porter would gel with the pumpkin, but this one works just fine. Enjoyable!

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Photo of Beejay
3.18/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Chestnut brown as it pours, in the glass it is black. A medium sized head rises from the body of a beer, dark tan with frog eyes, that multiply, and sink back into the body of the beer.

S: Pumpkin with nutmeg and clove come out right away in the nose. Some slight coffee notes, but the porter aroma seems to be overshadowed by the pumpkin.

T: Well that's a bit of a let down. The pumpkin is far less assertive than in the aroma, the porter is a bit of a let down, and there is a weird aftertaste.. almost a harshness to it, which counteracts the almost watery feel.

M: Carbonation seems fairly active to me, and the feel of the beer seems fairly light, and bordering on watery for the style.

O: Overall I wanted more.. a so-so porter with a little pumpkin. I wanted a bit more richness, perhaps a luxuriousness to it, but it falls short on the base style as well as the pumpkin.

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Photo of Spider889
3.57/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to bobertkuekn for this extra in our trade. I have been wanting to try a pumpkin porter; in fact, I am currently toying with the idea of making one for an upcoming homebrew...

Appeared to be a twist off cap, though I needed an opener to get it off. Yep, screw top bottle at least. The label is notched with Jan '12 as the best-by date.

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Definitely appears to be a porter, black, a bit thin looking, with a short beige head.

The aroma is big on pumpkin pie spices - especially nutmeg, though not overly complex nor necessarily invoking outright pumpkin. Faint, but also present are the porter aromas of roasted barley and baker's chocolate.

I would have loved to have experienced an epiphany moment upon tasting this beer; I really want this style to be tasty, one I would be happy to make myself. However, the flavor falls a bit flat for what the intention is. As in the aroma, some spices are there but they are more subdued than in the aroma. The porter base is much more heavy in the flavor. Coffee and some charcoal bitterness mingle with pumpkin pie sweetness.

Lighter body on this one, but appropriate per style. Lighter carbonation as well. Dry, and a bit sticky.

Overall an interesting brew. I would really like to see these guys push the envelope a little farther. Namely, I want more real pumpkin flavor.

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Photo of generallee
4.11/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: The body has a deep copper like amber color with good clarity. It’s head is small, white In color and fades slowly as I drink.

Smell: There are some nice pumpkin pie spices coming through with a deep maltiness backing it up.

Taste/Palate: I get really nice light coffee notes and a good malty base. It also has a nice balance of pumpkin pie spice. The palate has a firm feel with good carbonation. For me this is one of the more drinkable pumpkin beers. Everything is in very good balance.

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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 Jadjunk
3.19/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

No label information. Boxcarr is brewed in the style of an English Pumpkin Porter Ale. Available as a fall seasonal release in 12 oz. bottled 6 packs and on draft.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a pint glass. Served above 51º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a crisp, foamy mocha-tan head over a medium cola brown body with a mild haziness and light, spritely carbonation. Retention is good, lacing is light and spotty. 3.5

(Smell) Cold roast, medium toasted caramel grain, dry chocolate malt and the suspiciously well concealed aroma of raw pumpkin flesh beneath it all. Comes off a little dry and under-sweet. The potency is medium. 3.25

(Taste) The flavor follows the aroma closely with the addition of assertive pumpkin pie spices. Pumpkin only plays a minor role in building the flavor, the malt profile is largely dominated by toasted caramel bread and unsweetened baking chocolate, very light, mildly flavored and strikingly dry with a marked lack of sweetness. A spiced backdrop of cinnamon and nutmeg don't help to bring out the pumpkin flavor much but do dry out the drinking experience significantly. 3

(Mouthfeel) The texture is thin, clean and chalky dry. Carbonation generates a moderate briskness for a medium crisp mouthfeel. The body is light/medium for the style, medium overall. Balance is spiced and earthy bitter over sweet. Alcohol present is very low, off characters are minimal. The carbonation is a bit buzzy for the flavors, I could have appreciated a smoother, possibly creamier mouthfeel. 3.5

(Overall) This comes off much more as an English porter with pumpkin accent than a pumpkin porter, but even that line manages to blur as this beer has enough issues to question the style guidelines. Porters in general showcase drinkability paired with deeper, roaster and at times maltier characters, but this beer seems to play the drinkability card on a new level with a beer that lacks both in sweetness and pumpkin flavor, making up for it with liberal spicing and a fairly unimpressive and rough malt profile. All flavors combine for an incredibly dry drinking experience and I don't find this quite as session-worthy as they make it out to be. Altogether, it's simply not impressive for the style and amongst all pumpkin ales, you could choose a great many better examples that blend pumpkin flesh and roasted malt into a drinkable and yet flavorful ale. 3.25

Starr Hill Brewery's
Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter

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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 russwbeck
3.7/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Semi-clear black pour with a small head. Nothing remains after a few minutes. The bottle really made me pick this one out, bonus points for that.

S: Spicy pumpkin mixed in with a hint of roastiness. Smells lighter than I expected, not as much porter mixed in. A bit sweet.

T: The taste is interesting. Pumpkin and spices, but with a bit more body than Pumpkin Ales like DFH Punkin. The porter really adds a nice characteristic. But the taste does begin to wear on me a bit. Dry and roasty on the backend, spicy up front.

MF: Light and carbonated well. A bit too thin and watered down.

O: I'm glad I tried this, but wouldn't go for it again. Tasty, interesting, a nice mix up from the typical Pumpkin fall beer. But overall, it wasn't great.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
3.2/5  rDev -3.9%

Appearance: browns a reddish mahogany color. a finger of a tannish head that fades and leaves no lacing behind. shows hints of garnet through the edges when you hold it up to the light but pretty much opaque in the middle. 4/5

Smell: heavy on the spices, pumpkin spice, nutmeg maybe some cinnamon. some pumpkin, not much else. 3.25/5

Taste:opens up with a little pumpkin followed by a lot of spices. mostly pumpkin spice and nutmeg and a little bit of cinnamon. little to no malt presence. 3.25/5

Mouthfeel: lingering spices. light watery feel. 2.5/5

Overall: it has a good look and some good flavor but to light and watery and not nearly enough malts to give it the complexity it needs.

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Photo of Cubatobaco
3.15/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This was one of the choices at "The Great Pumpkin Debate" in Wilmington, DE.

I have not had enough Starr Hill beers to go in with a closed mind, so I was ready to see if there was a good alternative to the regular pumpkin ales. The pour displayed a thin, murky-colored, porter that didn't seem that it would be exciting and my nose revealed that to be correct. Very muted, with some roasted pumpkin and maybe touch of spice and cocoa. Not much different on the palate. Very thin with little to no finish. Disappointing to say the least.

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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 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 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 Dodo2step
3.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

P- Giant Beer garden in Hampden township

A- light black color...not as dark or heady as a porter should be. poor head and minimal lacing.

S- I get some clove, nutmeg and pumpkin spice but nothing as far as malt goes.

F- faint pumpkin spice flavor with hints of cinnamon and clove. is that anise I get as well. Malt is winter fest type.

M-bland pumpkin spice that is light to medium bodied. was expecting a thicker feel since it is a porter.

O- eh...a bottom of the barrel pumpkin for me...just didn't seem to have enough going on. Was hoping for a lil more malt to come through.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
3.63/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a completely opaque, pitch- black color with a finger of white-colored head that quickly dissolved into a thin lacing foam that gripped the sides of the glass and partially covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Roasted malt, freshly baked dark bread, roasted pumpkin, brown sugar. Not much in the way of hops, however.

Taste: Interesting. Lots of roasted malt and roasted pumpkin, a little brown sugar-like sweetness, and a little sourness at the finish. However, there is no hops bitterness to speak of, which I overall prefer.

Mouthfeel: A little chewy and some good carbonation to tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 4.7%, there is no presence of alcohol on the palate. This is a true session beer!

Overall: This is a pretty tasty porter. I like the roasted pumpkin flavor. I’d certainly get it again next year.

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Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter from Starr Hill Brewery
77 out of 100 based on 106 ratings.