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 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 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 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 IMFletcher
3/5  rDev -9.9%

Bottle pour. Nice nose, has some pumpkin spice going on, I was intrigued. Until I tasted it. There's not enough body here for a porter, and I wasn't convinced the flavor was pumpkin, and not just some random gourd. The finish is just meh. Not terrible, but not going to make anyone's list of top pumpkin beers.

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

L: Slight head dissipated into really thin lacing quickly. Beer is really dark, no light can get through so I can't tell if it's hazy or clear.
S: Pumpkin spice and toasted malt.
T: Smokiness up front. Definite pumpkin spice flavoring and definite porter darkness/bitterness.
O: This is my first pumpkin porter, and it seems like a nice balance of both flavors.

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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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Photo of droomyster
2.81/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours black with one finger of light tan foam with decent retention. Aromas are entirely pumpkin spicy (cloves, cinnamon, etc.), but not the slightest whiff of anything that would tell a blind man he was sniffing an ale, which is a total failure in my book. Flavors are roasty and pumpkin pie like, with a typical porter finish. The majority of pumpkin ales that I've tried taste better than this, as do the majority of porters. In the end, the whole is less than the sum of its parts. Downplaying the spices and/or an intensifying of the primary malts would greatly enhance this beer.

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Photo of zaphodchak
3.22/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Exploded upon un-capping. That's a minus.

Thinnish tan head, essentially opaque brown body. Decent surface memory.

Smells like a dark, malty porter, with a trace of pumpkin. Second pour in a better glass yields a nose with some nutmeg and pumpkin pie smell.

Taste is somehow watery. There's the porter for sure, and also some pumpkin, and neither is bad. This would be a good sweetish porter, but somehow the pumpkin is accompanied by water.

Mouthfeel has carb that's probably killing the taste-- could be part of it.

Pumpkin porter has been done before-- this one is unexceptional.

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Photo of mralphabet
3.46/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

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Photo of cmq103
3/5  rDev -9.9%

Picked up a 6-pack of this while visiting in VA.

A: Poured into a pint glass for tasting purposes. An average pour got me a nice ½” light brown head, for all of about a minute before reducing to a thin, almost non-existent ring. Very small carbonation bubbles pretend to be lacing, but not really. Kind of root beer looking in color.

S: You can definitely smell the spices right away, like nutmeg, cinnamon and some dark malt. I don’t really catch any pumpkin aroma, only the spices that would be added to a pumpkin pie.

T: Actually a porter with pumpkin spices. Slightly bitter initially followed by the aforementioned spices, then back to bitter finish.

M: Rather thin on the tongue, with moderate carbonation. Typically I like my porters a tad bit thicker and smoother.

O: An average fall beer from Starr Hill. I liked their "The Love" beer a lot better.

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Photo of obywan59
3.46/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown with ruby highlights and a 2 1/2 finger tan head that leaves light lacing.

An initial roasty aroma. Smell of light pumpkin pie, coffee and chocolate.

Taste is more obscure. A hint of pumpkin with roast coffee. A bit tart.

Mouthfeel is fine. Medium bodied, fairly smooth and drying.

Overall, a pretty good beer. Not a lot going on in the flavor though. I could have used more pumpkin and spice. Still, it would make a good session beer.if care us taken for the amazing drinkability. I could down too many of these in a hurry.

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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 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.

 552 characters

Photo of VirginiaBeerMan
3.26/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle into a pub glass
A - Dark brown, some, but very little light getting through; light tan head settles to about 1/8 inch; weak lacing (looks like it poured thin, we'll see....writing this before going to the next step)
S - Earthy pumpkin, nothing overpowering, very distant malt
T - I was expecting more of a porter out of this, but to me it was a mild pumpkin ale, but better; the dark color throws you off; subdued hop and bitter
F - Good level of carbonation; moderate body; average overall
O - As far as pumpkin beers go, this one wasn't horrible and I wouldn't deliberately avoid it like I would most pumpkins; but overall, it's still just an average beer, no real aroma or taste that stands out, no bad tastes, just pretty generic

 747 characters

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 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 JWU
3.26/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

12oz. bottle poured into a porter glass

A- a very dark brown, but light penetrates the edges. Light khaki head that dissipates car to quickly. No lacing.

S- Some dark malts, cocoa, mild brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon.

T- Taste is lacking. It's a mediocre porter with a flash of cinnamon and nutmeg on the finish.

M- Ample carbonation, but very thin.

O- Disappointing, to say the least. Very little pumpkin character.

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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 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 microbrewlover
3.53/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This brew pours a dark brown/black with a one finger mocha head which dissipates fairly quickly. Some of the head remains on the top until the end; light lacing stays on the glass until the end.

The smell is delicious with all of the pumpkin spices, nutmeg, anise, cardamom and allspice being there. There is also a light smell of roasted grains and malts.

Sadly the taste does not follow the nose, the spices are there but do not dominate. Neither does the roasted malt smell dominate. There is a light taste of pumpkin which is not anything to write home about and there is a little bit of a soapy taste on the back-end.

The feel is fairly thick and chewy. There is a soapy aftertaste.

Overall this is another variation on the pumpkin ale style which sadly does not have much pumpkin in it. If only the taste followed the nose this would have been an excellent brew. Since the taste falls short I am forced to rate this as only "okay".

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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 rjs246
3.29/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I revisited this over the weekend and it was better than I remembered. Still a little too much spice, especially on the nose, but totally drinkable. I would have to be in the mood, but this is not a drain pour.

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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 BethanyB
3.31/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A nearly opaque dark brown, with a low, creamy, white head.

Smell: A light mixture of seasonal spices--nutmeg, cloves, etc., and a bit of caramel malt. Couldn't quite sniff out much else, but the bouquet was pretty faint anyway, so it wasn't as overtly sweet as it sounds. Plus, there was actually an obvious metallic scent was distracting and off-putting (needless to say). I suppose that made things less sweet!

Taste: Roasted malt with pumpernickel, nutmeg, citrusy esters, and a bit of caramel--similar to the nose, but stronger and tastier. Thankfully, the metallic character wasn't detected on the taste. I was surprised by how well-balanced it was, with all the juxtaposing flavors. This was my first pumpkin porter, and while I wasn't blown away, for me, it was an interesting and welcome change from the majority of other pumpkin
ales out there. Tasted almost like there was some rye in there. No clue what the recipe calls for.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with rather high carbonation, which made for a slightly dry finish and brought out a bit more of those pumpernickel-like spices.

Overall: An interesting beer, that is worth a try if you like pumpkin ales. I wouldn't go out of my way to seek it out, however.

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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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Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter from Starr Hill Brewery
3.33 out of 5 based on 441 ratings.
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