Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter | Starr Hill Brewery

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Boxcarr Pumpkin PorterBoxcarr Pumpkin Porter

Brewed by:
Starr Hill Brewery
Virginia, United States

Style: English Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Thorpe429 on 06-29-2011

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Reviews: 107 | Ratings: 441
Photo of tlazaroff
4.6/5  rDev +38.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very very dark brown but it looks black unless you hold it to light. The head is a nice thick foamy tan that leaves some lacing behind as it's consumed and swirled.

Starr Hill nailed it with this one, big freshly oven roasted pumpkin on the nose with a feint bitter freshly brewing coffee background. This beer smells like thanksgiving and the coffee you have after thanksgiving - all in a bottle.

Starts up with a sweetness followed by a mid palate of espresso notes and finished with the pumpkin which lingers. I really enjoy this beer, a lot, and am happy that it's semi-local.

Highly carbonated and light bodied to medium bodied (though I think more on the light side).

Very drinkable. Not sure what the ABV is, but if it's any higher than 5%, it's hidden quite well inside of the deliciousness of this offering.

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Photo of pzrhsau
4.5/5  rDev +35.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Great dark brown color and a large foamy coffee colored head.
S: Roasted brown malt aroma with some nice hints of sweet pumpkin.
T: The beer has a nice subtle roasted malt flavor with some slight hints of pumpkin. Bitter and slightly spicy with hints of cinnamon and all spice.
M/O: very well balanced beer. The pumpkin flavor has some nice flavor but the pumpkin really smooths out the bitterness of the porter. Great tasting and easy to drink.

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Photo of Byrnie-madoff
4.45/5  rDev +33.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

If you don't know what an English style porter is, I encourage you to read up before trying! Not everyone likes a lighter bodied porter but if you're familiar with the style you're going to like this beer. This is a very well executed English porter with some tastefully subtle pumpkin spicing in the background.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.21/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Bear Republic tasting glass. Bottled 12 August 2015.
Almost opaque red-black.
It smells like pumpkins! Good, honest gourd. Hint of spice.
This is fantastic!! Roasted-sweet. Lots of pumpkin. More pumpkin than Porter.
Fairly viscous and pleasurable.
Would definitely have again. I think they've improved the recipe in the last 3 years.

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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 hophead723
4.14/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Look: Pours dark and clear, but when held to the light there are deep reddish mahogany hues that glimmer. The head is tan and the abundance of which depends on the vigor of the pour.

Smell: Light rosted grains, a touch of spices, and coco.

Taste: Clean molassesy malt, underlying pumpkin, hit of spices, a bit of a vanilla warmth, and finally acrid charcoal.

Feel: Medium, borderline-full body with a slick swallow and an acrid dry finish.

Overall: Recently I had realized that I liked the idea of a Pumpkin beer better than any pumpkin beers I had tried, and I decided to no longer seek them out. But this beer was excellent and made a lot of sense; the pumpkin was somehow not forced upon the beer. Very well done.

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Photo of homebrewer88
4.13/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: dark brown with a tan head

S:light roasted malt pumpkin and spice (cinnamon, nutmeg)

T: pumpkin and spice but not super sweet, light roasted malt flavor

it was a good beer i was expecting more of a sweet pumpkin and spice taste but it was well balanced. I will buy this one again.

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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 ramseye4
4.05/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This has been getting great word of mouth in Virginia. I grew up down the street from starr hill, and they finally knocked one out of the park. Pours an appetizing dark brown color with a big creamy white head. Aroma is of nutmeg , cinnamon, and toasted malt. Taste is complex, with the roasted malt bringing out the pumpkin spices. Not as tasty as the smell, but still good. Mouthfeel is perfectly balanced to bring out the flavor. Overall this is a resounding success for starr hill. Great job guys and gals

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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 humuloner22
4/5  rDev +20.1%

This beer has been getting shitty ratings. I was hesitant to even try a pumpkin porter. But, you know I really thought this was a good beer. Its really not a pumpkin beer and its really not a porter in the traditional respect and if you are looking to rate it on those parameters then you would feel disappointed. I however thought it was a good hybrid style. You get those porter notes, in there, but you also get the pumpkin spices. I did not detect pumpkin itself, if there is really any in there to begin with. You do get the spices, which I enjoy on a limited basis and this is a good beer to have one or to finish off a night of fall beer drinking. Is it the best beer I have ever had? No, but it is interesting and was better than it has been represented here, for the most part.

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Photo of TheLibertyFlamesTaster
4/5  rDev +20.1%

Smells- Like a yummy pumpkin pie.
Taste -sweeter up front then like spicy then porter.
It's a good porter.

You guys that keep saying it's watered down need to check your buds. The best beers arn't the ones that have the most intense flavor they are the ones that mix flavors in artisan way.

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Photo of goldbot
3.94/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep mahogany in color with thin, disappearing tan head. Instant aroma of pumpkin pie spice with sweet malt, caramel, and vegetal pumpkin notes. Like most pumpkin beers, just perhaps a bit more roasty. The flavor is definitely more porter than pumpkin like, although there is a distinct and very tasty pumpkin pie aftertaste. Otherwise, roasted malt and caramel flavors. Medium body with a smooth, carbonated mouthfeel. I thought I would be disappointed like with most pumpkin beers, but this one is a pretty nice combination, especially with the great pumpkin aftertaste.

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Photo of Mises85
3.92/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Had on tap in pint glass

Appearance: Not pitch black but classic english porter color with 2 finger head.
Smell: Roasted Malt, some subtle coffee notes, oil.
Taste: Coffee (more of the instant variety), touch of alcohol, slight pumpkin (but not overpowering), and semisweet chocolate finish.

Verdict: I think it was not bad, my first pumpkin porter to be exact. I like how the pumpkin doesn't crash your taste buds unlike southern tier's pumking. Not the best porter but definitely would have again.

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Photo of Zee
3.92/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I think an okay rating from beer advocate is ridiculous! This is a well crafted beer! The fact that someone attempted a pumpkin Porter, which you don't see much, and did it without over spicing it and giving it an equal pumpkin and porter taste from start to finish deserves a medal!This is a beautiful fall beer from an outstanding brewery! Oh and beer advocate...Starr Hill now spells boxcarr with two R's.

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Photo of hopphead31415
3.91/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

In the spirit of Octoberfest brews that I’m reviewing today, I grabbed a close cousin by the name of Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter. I haven’t tried Starr Hill before, but wasn’t expecting much however I did enjoy this variety. It has a lower 4.7% ABV than beer advocate reports, but that is because this is a newer variety.

Look-It pours a deep dark body with an orange red glimmer in the light. The head fizzles away to a thin layer and leaves off-white mocha colored lacing on the glass.

Smell-I smell a lot of licorice, spices, nutmeg, pumpkin pie, and cinnamon which form the basis of the strong malt component which makes up most of this beer.

Taste-The pumpkin pie flavors and spices come through clearly in this nice brew. I get a coffee, caramel, and brown sugar flavor that sings high above the pumpkin and spices and it finishes with a tart bite that I didn’t expect.

Mouthfeel-This session beer is light, moist, smooth, and crisp. Its low alcohol content is augmented by the light fizz at the end. A slight toasted sweetness lingers on the tongue afterwards.

Overall-This beer was a bit surprising, because it had much more prominent flavors and aromas and had a nice dark color to it. I think I’ll be drinking from Starr Hill Brewery again. Cheers!

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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 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 ebby82
3.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown into a pint glass with little head.

Aromas of pumpkin spice, especially nutmeg and cinnamon. Sweet with a very light roasted aroma beneath.

The pumpkin flavor is primarily on the back of the tongue, while the initial flavor is more of a light porter. The roasts are not as dark as some porters.

The body is fairly light for a porter, in fact the beer is lighter than expected.

A tasty porter, which would be even better in the fall.

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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 WMEugene
3.82/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass

A - Pours a deep black, perhaps ebony color with a tan head that poured thick but dissipated quickly. Relatively nice lacing.

S - Nice smell of pumpkin, spices, and roasted malts. Some hints of coffee as well.

T - Pumpkin spice and caramel/coffee/toffee flavors. Taste of malt as well. Surprisingly tart. Pleasant.

M - Thin bodied, a little too much so. Carbonation level was ok.

O - The Boxcar is a nice seasonal from Starr Hill. While it's not the best pumpkin beer I've ever had, it is a nice twist and a welcome addition to the fall seasonal lineup. The only real drawback is the thinness of the beer, which is something I hope they work on in subsequent years. It is tasty though and something I'd have again.

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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 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 oldirtycaffrey
3.73/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pumpkin beer in mid-August? Don't mind if I do is what I said to myself when picking up a six-pack of Boxcar for about $8.49 here in VA the other day. The brew pours a deep ruby brown with a nice 1/2 inch foamy brown head that remains almost till the end. Smell is of pumpkin, malt, a little bit of spice, a hint of dark chocolate -- really nice combination. The taste is excellent - robust, really just a hint of pumpkin in this which makes it a nice choice for a fall porter. Could drink a good amount of these in one sitting. Always a positive.

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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
3.33 out of 5 based on 441 ratings.
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