1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Railway City Iron Spike - Amber Ale - Railway City Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Railway City Iron Spike - Amber AleRailway City Iron Spike - Amber Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

16 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 16
Reviews: 6
rAvg: 3.22
pDev: 14.29%
Wants: 0
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Railway City Brewing Company visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  4.60% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
A deep garnet, this ale pours a frothy beige cap. In the nose, deeply rooted dark fruits give way to a perfume, bubblegum, banana, and some yeasty esters. Lots of toasty notes with dark bread, caramel malts.

Flavour profile initially is sweet with dark fruit and caramel. This leads to toasty spicy flavours with a hint of smoke and fall fruits. The hops come through to balance the sweetness perfectly. Very nice dense head with good lacing and retention.

This is a full bodied amber ale with a nice balance of creamy grainy fruitiness, and sharp hops bitterness.

30 IBU

(Beer added by: mrmanning on 06-06-2008)
View: Beers (15) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 16 | Reviews: 6 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of boszormeny
3/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of biegaman
3.29/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Iron Spike Amber looks like your standard amber ale, albeit with a suntan. Slightly darker in colour, this beer maintains every bit the sparkling clarity of an offering twice as light. Its beige head, initially quite substantial, fades all but entirely, leaving no evidence of its existence.

The aroma smells of all kinds of dried fruits but none more so than raisin and banana. It's not entirely out of character for an amber ale but it's not exactly ideal either; malt and/or hops should feature more heavily than this. The butterscotch-type notes are almost diacetyl-like.

Iron Spike Amber is designed for just about everybody - that is, except for craft drinkers that are accustomed to more characterful examples. While not unsubstantial, the beer doesn't have much lasting power and fails to ever make much of an impression. There's little expression of any dark malt and even less so any hoppiness. There aught to be more flavour than this.

Ambers ale tend to be either exceedingly malty or hoppy and, as stated, this edition isn't particularly either. It's very underwhelming. There's strong indications of dried fruits (like those in the aroma) and traces of butterscotch or bread pudding; it's fruity with a slightly bitter and toffee-ish edge. It seems like something modeled after an English Bitter.

Iron Spike Amber is an everyday dark ale that's designed for casual and average beer drinkers. Unfortunately, I, personally, don't share that fondness for simple refreshment and lighthearted flavour; for me this ultra-restrained style offers little to enjoy it by. If I'm to take a walk on the light side I'll opt for something golden - not amber. An alright beer, but not for me.

Photo of nullbort
3.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of Orionigel
3.75/5  rDev +16.5%

Photo of KrisDLSmith
3.75/5  rDev +16.5%

Photo of hunterjames
2.75/5  rDev -14.6%

Photo of DrJay
3/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of rab53
2.75/5  rDev -14.6%

Photo of timiskin
3.25/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of thehyperduck
3.1/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

500 mL bottle from the brewery; best before Jan 7 2013. I believe they stopped brewing this a few weeks ago, which may explain why there were only two bottles left. I'll take into account the fact that it probably isn't particularly fresh during the course of this review.

Pours a lovely ruby-amber colour; deep in hue but still clear, topped with one finger of fizzy, off-white head that is in a hurry to go somewhere else. Pretty flat looking, but considering the age of this beer I wasn't expecting much different. Mild aroma with notes of butterscotch, pears, plums, raisins, and maybe some other orchard fruits - enjoyable enough, not really what I expect from an amber.

The malt backbone is light and doughy, with some weak caramel sweetness. This leads into the more prominent orchard fruit flavours, of which plums, grape and green apple skin are the easiest to distinguish. Floral, somewhat fruity aftertaste. Light-bodied and kind of watery, with minimal carbonation for a smooth, slick feel going down the gullet. Easy to drink quickly, if nothing else.

Not bad, but I have a feeling the fruity, funky vibes I am getting from this stuff are less purposeful features than mere products of oxidation. It doesn't taste awful, but it's clearly past its prime. As it stands though, I have to believe that they made the right choice when they made this Amber seasonal and stuck with the Copper Ale as their year-round session ale offering. That stuff makes for a solid quaff, but even without the oxidation, I can't envision the amber being a particularly memorable brew to begin with.

Final Grade: 3.1, a manageable C+. I'll reserve my final judgment on Railway City's Amber Ale until next fall, when I'll (hopefully) be able to get my hands on a fresher bottle. This particular example was noticeably off, with far more of an apple juice vibe than was probably intended - but since it's not technically expired, and I picked it up at the actual brewery itself, I feel it's a justifiably reviewable example. Might be worth a try next September or October, but if this bottle is any indication I wouldn't risk it later in the season.

Photo of dipso123
2/5  rDev -37.9%

Photo of beerhunter13
4/5  rDev +24.2%

Photo of kwjd
3.2/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at The Rebel House in Toronto. Pours a clear amber colour with very thin off-white head. The head dissipates rather quickly without any lacing. Smells of sweet caramel malt. Flavour has a bit of an odd aftertaste, but it is mostly sweet and inoffensive. Thin mouthfeel.

Photo of pootz
3.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Growler from the brewery:

Pours a clear dark amber-red with a modest white cap.

Aroma: plumb-apricot with some toastiness and grassy tones.

Medium body, light sweet toasty caramel malt profile, fruity esters and some hop resins in a light drying finish.

Uncomplicated straight forward session amber.

Photo of Sammy
3.25/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Plastic bottle fresh, enjoyed a the brewery. The boldest taste of their three starting beers. A crowning head, a bit of lace. Nicely carbonated and the mst colour of their three. Like a mild red ale in colour and taste. A richer malted taste. Average or less mouthfeel.

Photo of mrmanning
3.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Decants from the growler, a very dark mahogany liquid with deep ruby around the edges. Billowing, off white, fluffy cap appears and lasts. The nose is dark fruit and cookie dough, with burnt sugars and caramel with a nice spice contingent. Tastes of sweet doughy malts, floral spices, bubblegum, and banana. Creamy, medium bodied. This beats all of the other "amber" beers available in this area, hands down. An amber with flavour, body and character. Well done.

Railway City Iron Spike - Amber Ale from Railway City Brewing Company
78 out of 100 based on 16 ratings.