Railway City Dead Elephant Ale - Railway City Brewing Company

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Railway City Dead Elephant AleRailway City Dead Elephant Ale

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149 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 149
Reviews: 72
rAvg: 3.54
pDev: 12.99%
Wants: 2
Gots: 16 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Railway City Brewing Company visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
English India Pale Ale (IPA) |  6.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mrmanning on 09-20-2009

A full bodied golden Pale Ale which pours with a linen white medium density head leaving spider web lace on the glass.

On the palate the flavour is sweet fruity malts up front (apricot, mango) with a bit of candy, and slight grassy notes which fall away to reveal a hint of biscuit with rather pleasant grapefruit and perfume undertones.

This is a hop bomb, there is no doubt. To the nose there is a mild malt aroma which accentuates the robust floral bouquet which is derived from the hops.

Medium full bodied ale with pleasant lingering hop finish.

46.6 IBU
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Ratings: 149 | Reviews: 72
Reviews by spiderwebb70:
More User Reviews:
Photo of merlin48
3.63/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pint bottle pours a hazy golden amber body with a sturdy offwhite head that settles at two fingers high and hangs around several minutes. Lots of attractive lacing clings to the glass.

Aroma is mostly hoppy, with grapefruit, pine, a hint of florals and an earthy grassiness. Toasted caramel notes underneath.

Full medium body has a moderate carbonation.

Taste has a bready caramel base that seems almost scorched at times. Abundant hop bitterness has a dominant earthy character with hints of pine, grass, and grapefruit. A hint of ripe pears midway through leads into a clean and even finish.

Not my favorite Ontario pale ale but one that is definitely very drinkable and tasty.

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

After a disastrous Railway experience on draught, I'm willing to give them another go in bottle. Especially when that bottle happens to have an intoxicated elephant crashing through a PT Barnum backdrop. Priceless.

A light amber brew, with a robust white head that recedes nicely into a thin layer. Lots of slicky lacing.

Smells like an American IPA to me. Resin, juicy hops, grapefruit and biscuits. A somewhat buttery note as well, which was a bit strange.

Bready malts open off this beer, with pine resin bitterness to the finish. A bit of grapefruit, smoke and caramel linger in the back. Not bad actually.

Slightly creamy, decent carbonation. Moderate body.

Not a bad little IPA, I quite enjoyed it. Thankfully, Dead Elephant didn't taste like it sounds.

Photo of machinesquad
3.66/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Look: Bright and clear golden colour. Significant carbonation. Initial head of over an inch which reduced to about half an inch.

Smell: Biscuity smell with spice and hints of caramel.

Taste: Not what I was expecting given the description on the brewer's website. Strong caramel/butterscotch flavour. Some citrus hops as well. I was worried there'd be more an alcohol taste to it but was happy to find it wasn't noticeable.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and crisp.

Drinkability: Given the carbonation - at least in this particular bottle - I'm suspecting there's going to be some bloating. Flavour wise its mellow enough to make it sessionable - which might not be a great idea since it is 6.8% (even though my bottle says 6.5%).

Overall I'm surprised the brewer is marketing this as an American IPA. While tasting quite good, it doesn't put hops as the star of the beer.

I'd like to try this beer on tap as well to compare to the 500mL bottle.

Photo of Sammy
3.3/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at C'est What. 47 IBU only for an IPA. It is still hoppy, the carbonation is right there, the finish is odd. Orangey colour with some lace. Definite smoke,which does not fit a touch watery, a mild pleasant aroma. So drinkable but not a good rep of the style.

Photo of heebes
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle.
Best before 15 Oct 2011.
6.5% abv, not as listed.

Pours a clear light golden with a massive foamy white head, sticky lacing. Nose is some citrus hops, English maltiness, dried fruit, faint spiciness. Taste is creamy malt forefront, typical lack of hop presence here, bready, some spiciness still but mainly a malt forward brew. Mouthfeel is dry, light to medium bodied with a slightly watery slickness.
Overall, a fairly mild English IPA is what it comes across as to me, or maybe an amber in taste, with some really nice elements such as appearance and a good aroma. Ive only ever seen this beer in the Queens Quay LCBO and its name on some draft handles, not to aware of the Railway City brewery but this bottle was a nice introduction. Pretty decent label & bottle going on. As an American IPA though it falls short.

Photo of King-Ding-A-Ling
2.98/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Citrus hop notes, quite a bit of malt expression for an IPA,cotton candy note which plays into the circus elephant idea. Playful approach, but a little underwhelming.

Photo of Reinheitsgebot71
3.48/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From the sleepy town of St. Thomas Ontario comes this offering from railway city brewing.
It pours golden amber in colour with a thick foamy off white head. The brew goes Hazy as the bottom is poured in. Some good retention here, thick lacing leaving a valley in the center.

Interesting nose, very fruity; raisin, peach, melon rind, pear, and a light caramel scent. A slight earthy grassy tone mixes with that of candy apple. Honey sweetness comes through as beer warms.

Booziness hit you right up front more than one would expect from a 6.8% beer. Woody almost burnt malt taste give a mild smoky sensation. Some light malt sweetness and earthy hop bitterness pull through in the main body. A mild harshness from the alcohol lingers in the finish along with some of the bitterness giving an astringent finish.

The body is surprisingly light and crisp.

Not sure if I would consider this an American IPA, none the less an intriguing beer from this upstart brewery.

Photo of DaveBar
3.56/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at the LCBO 473ml can for approx. $3.00. Served at 8deg C in a draught glass.

A- Opened well. Poured clear and light colored.

S- Very little for an IPA. Soapy hint for some reason.

T- Ok but not great. Not a lot of hops. Pretty bland for an IPA. High carbonation

M- Pretty bland. Heavy carbonation props up this beer a bit along with a slight bitter bite

O- Pretty good. Will not buy again but would try the double dead to see what that is like

Food Pairing

This ho hum beer didn't make it to a tasting. Just enjoy anything you would with a Bud


Photo of Stocean1
3.7/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - poured only a half finger head despite my best efforts, no apparent carbonation - light amber - brandy colour - zero lacing

S - sweet malt and floral notes - clearly lots of hops

T - sweet malt and spicy hops up front - floral - not overpowering -well balanced - bitter in the aftertaste

M - seems a little syrupy given the sweetness with no carbonation - light to medium bodied like a watered down liquor

O - very nioe IPA - a little more carbonation would be nice - will grab some more from the brewery when I head to the trailer next weekend

Photo of paxkey
3.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

label says to serve within 45 days. This bottle is about halfway throught that.

poured in a pint glass. hazy honey color with bone white head.

mild hops and malt aromas. butterscotch aroma. buttered popcorn.

really creamy and drinkable. bitter aftertaste.
cakey malt. light hops slightly flowery slightly spicy.

Average taste with nothing offputting makes this drinkable. refreshing and nice.

Photo of Phyl21ca
2.63/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Can: Poured a golden color ale with a medium size foamy head with OK retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of light bitter hops with dry malt notes. Taste is a light mix of subtle bitter hops with a medium-sweet malt backbone. Body is about average with good carbonation. This one is seriously lacking a hop punch.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
2.96/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Can to Founder's tulip. Best Before JUN 16/12.

A - Poured a light to medium yellow/orange colour. Two fingers of thick, foamy white head formed with good retention.

S - Lighter nose than expected. Some grassy and herbal aromas up front with a mild bready malt backbone present. Not overly inviting for an IPA.

T - Grassy and herbal notes up front with a decent bitterness that is more reminiscent of a pale ale than an IPA. Some bready malt flavours in the background. The finish is slightly bitter. Very average and forgettable.

M - Medium body with a very slight chew present at times. Moderate carbonation.

O - I was surprised that this is listed as an American IPA. Tastes more like an English IPA to me (and not a very good one).

Photo of IronDjinn
3.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Recieved from Viggo from CanBIF6. Comes in a500 ml brown bottle, pours a hazy copper hue, with a tall creamy white head that eventually settles to a frothy cap.

Aroma is malt forward with bready, biscuity, caramel malt, and some orange and perfumey hops.

Bready, buttery (but not negative diacytl), caramel malt up front in the flavour that soon gets upstaged by puckering citrus, earthy, herbal hops that carry to the finish and long into the aftertaste.

Medium-bodied mouthfeel, low carbonation, slick, kinda watery texture.

Good malt backbone to this, as well as some layers to the hops, a pretty solid IPA.

Photo of ritzkiss
3.22/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle from the LCBO. Pours a crystal clear light orange with a hint of apple red, a finger of head builds on the pour and quickly drops to a collar - no lacing.

Nose is surprisingly nice, some citrus rind coming through beside a caramel base, some pale malt and a hint of alcohol. Fresh but still smells a little rough.

I think there are some who are giving this inflated scores simply due to there being a lack of major flaws/off-notes which plagued this beer previously. A sweet caramel and biscuit base which has a sort of blandness to it, floral and a hint of citrus hopping, a pleasant mineral bitterness which reminds me of a decent English IPA. Some butteriness, slightly solventy in the finish. Smooth, undercarbonated mouthfeel.

While it's true this is now drinkable, I don't consider this one of the better brews the province has to offer, in fact, I think I'll be passing on this one from here on in. Not well integrated, bland flavors, butter, solvent. Poor elephant could have used a better tribute....

Photo of Roke87
4.16/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Growler fresh from the brewery, chilled and poured into a Duvel tulip.
Bottled on date: April.15/2011

Appearance- Pours an amber colour with a nice fluffy 2 fingers of off white head that very slowly dissipates to a nice ring around the glass leaving very nice lacing throughout.

Smell- Amazing smells coming from this one, you have a nice fruity scent on the one hand with a sweet toffee on the other, followed by the usual bready malt smells.

Taste- Just like the smells you get a nice fruity sensation with that sweet toffee coming through, appearances from the bready malts and a very small flavour of hops thrown in there.

Mouthfeel- Light-Medium bodied with great carbonation this one goes does easy and finishes smooth and crisp.

Overall- Easily the best offering from Railway City brewing co. this award winning ale hits home on all fronts, the smells are just out of this world good, and the taste comes through just like the smell fruity and sweet, looks great, tastes great, with a great carbonation on it as well. Hides the higher ABV very well and definite go to for me and my new local favourite, well done.

Photo of WhittlingWombat
3.99/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dead Elephant pours a beautiful, transparent golden amber color with a nice head. For such a nice head, it is surprisingly less carbonated a beer than I expected.

It has a very pleasant aroma with hints of malt, caramel, and floral touches. Breathing in through my mouth was when I really noticed more bitter hops hitting the back of my throat.

For an IPA, this is a really easy, smooth beer to drink in comparison to other IPAs I have had. I am used to IPAs having much more a bitter hoppiness to them than this one had. While the bitterness is there, it was more pronounced with floral hops. There are definitely touches of honey in this brew which is a fantastic touch. It is nicely balanced in that it is sweeter to the initial taste, but the bitter hops kick in afterward. I would almost call this a refreshing, thirst quenching beer. It is that easy and delicate of a brew.

I would have never guessed this to be an IPA, let alone one with an IBU of 46.6. And a 6.8% ABV? You do not taste it. Dead Elephant is a pretty decent beer that I would recommend anyone try.

Photo of FondueVoodoo
3.56/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to cattersley for sending this as part of CanBIF 2013!

A: Extremely clear, golden copper with a good solid and thick microfilm pad of head across the top. Great amount of lacing.

S: Caramelized malts with pineapple and other tropical fruits. Very sweet floral notes and a noticeable lack of hops.

T: Very sweet upfront, toffee, caramel and rock candy with slight notes of vanilla. Hop present themselves n the backend with pithy citrus. There is a nice lingering bitterness.

M: Light to medium bodied with low carbonation. There is a very low viscosity that underwhelms and doesn't support the taste, more similar to a pilsner.

O: This is a different take on an IPA then what we usually have here on the west coast in that it is much more malt forward. It is a very attractive beer with a taste and smell that malt fans will appreciate. This could be a great malt forward pale ale if the mouthfeel had a more syrupy presence.

Photo of spinrsx
3.03/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

473ml can from the LCBO

Appearance - Clear amber/copper colour with a small size fizzy off-white coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for 2 or 3 minutes.

Smell - Malts, caramel, herbal notes, hops, corn

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and most of the taste is made up of caramel, light hops, corn, and malts. There is also some farm like flavours.. hay/straw and lots of grains. It almost tasted like it could be brewed by Beau's. It ends with a malty caramel aftertaste with some odd herbal notes and a bit of lingering bitterness.

Overall - Not a fan of the odd herbal flavours and the farm like taste. The beer tasted like it was along the lines of a home brew. I wouldn't pick this one up again.

Photo of StarshipPoopers
3.59/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Very golden, and very transparent. Lots of bubbles up the side of the glass and some carbonation is evident after being poured. I wasn't getting very much head while pouring so I tried a hard pour and even then I could only get about a finger's worth which dissipated quickly to only a small film that covered maybe half of the surface. Not very impressive from that standpoint. Looks rather average and the head is almost gone about 5 minutes after having poured it.

S - The first thing that I smell when I pop the lid is a very sweet aroma, caramel and bready malts. The nose is very strong, aside from the predominate smells I also sense some sweetness, almost like honey. It's a nice smell, stronger and sweeter than a lot of beers manage.

T - Hmmm. Bready malts jump out first, they are quite strong and last throughout the aftertaste as well. There aren't too many flavours that are pronounced as the smell might have suggested. I'm not finding the hoppiness that many others have mentioned. There is an ever so slight touch of a hoppy taste that trails the initial malt but it is still heavily outweighed by the bread and caramel flavours and you really have to go searching for the hops. It's a pretty tame IPA.

M - Nothing bad to say here. The texture is smooth and the flavour keeps you interested. Aftertaste lingers and is quite sweet, leaves a sticky sweet feeling that I wasn't expecting.

D - Very drinkable. The 6.5% isn't noticeable at all and is masked by the prominence of the malt flavours. I would have a couple of these, but many more would probably get to be a little too sweet for my taste.

Overall this is a good beer from near my hometown which is nice to see. It has a nice taste and certainly rises above many of the beers that I've had from this region. Despite the good taste I would still label this an average beer though. The flavours are overpowered with malts and it ends up being a drink that's nice to have but is not particularly memorable or unique in any way.

Judging from the other reviews that mentioned hops and floral notes I think that I will have to try another bottle sometime to see if I just got a different batch, because mine was devoid of such flavours.

So basically it's a good beer but nothing special.

Photo of liamt07
3.06/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Can from the LCBO, alcohol on this one is 6.5%. No canning/best by date on the can - into a tulip.

Golden orange with a mild haziness. Relatively dense head with solid lacing and pretty good retention. Nose is fairly mild, some citrus, a bit of sweet malts. Maybe a touch grassy, and perhaps a bit stinky. Simplistic at best. Taste is bitter right off the bat, citrus fruits, perhaps a bit of orange and some grainy malts notes. Alcohol is more pronounced than it should be. Hops are bitter into the finish, some odd metallic notes as well. Something's a bit off here. Medium high carbonation, medium mouthfeel. Gets a bit better as it warms, but relatively uninspiring.

Photo of mooseisloose
4.35/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My 500 ml bottle says 6.5% ABV not the 6.8% ABV noted so this isn't strong beer but kind of strong beer, so let's give it a whirl. Popping the top yielsds a nice smell of licorice, butterscotch and molasses. Pouring into a tulip type glass I get a cloudy pale yellow with brownish hues and an off white, multi-size bubble creamy head. Taste is very fresh and complex. Up front this brew has a grassy but roasted malt taste with a moderate hop bite. Then the hop bite flattens out and becomes chaulky, while the grassy sweetness fades to bittersweet almost tangy finish, balancing with the hop fade. This is a very delicious brew. The mouthfeel is great, carbonation is detectable but doesn't at all detract from the flavor. Highly drinkable. I will be seeking out this brew again. Very Good.

Photo of ludachris
4.05/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottles of this just arrived at my LCBO, and on the first sip I could tell this was a much better beer than when I first had it on tap, so I decided to re-rate to better reflect what the grade should be.

Pours a deep and rich golden hue with two fingers of creamy iron-white head that displays solid retention and leaves large sticky and random patches of lace.

The nose consists of strong resiny and piney hops with a good bready malt profile to go with it. A bit of grapefruit and pineapple are also detectable.

A nice kick of piney hops immediately hit the palate and is followed by a melon sweetness that makes itself noticeable towards the back of the tongue. A good dose of bready malts comes in as the hops fade, but they duke it out until the end.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, crisp, and a tad creamy but not as much as I expect from an IPA. Drunk fresh, this stuff is dangerously quaffable.

Overall, a great local IPA that I'm happy I was able to get a bottle of this and compare it to the time I had it on tap. A very different experience for sure, and one I enjoyed much more! If you see this on the shelves, or know it's fresh on tap at a bar, make sure to grab one.

Photo of SebD
3.25/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It has a nice golden/yellow color to it. It has a white head that dies down quite fast and leaves some lacing.

Smell: The aromas give out hints of toasty/bready malts, some caramel, and some citrusy and grassy hops.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a toasty/bready malt character with some caramel and a very light hop presence giving it a citrusy/grassy note. Where the hell are the hops in this IPA?

Mouthfeel: It has a low carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel but I expected a bit more hops and bitterness in this one.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with decent flavors and aromas.

Photo of mrmanning
3.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A slightly hazed orangey/gold. Pours one finger of white foam, leaving spiderweb lace on the glass.
The aromas here are perfumey, grapefruit and earthy pine, with peach and apricot fruity malts. The flavour is sweet fruity malts up front (apricot, mango) with a bit of candy, then come the hops. Full on grapefruit pithy bitterness with pine as well. This is a hop bomb, there is no doubt. Medium full body with pleasant astringent finish and very lenghty bitterness. Absolutely no trace of the ABV. One of the most bitter beers I've had in some time, and certainly one of the hoppiest brewed in this province. Very good.

Photo of thehyperduck
3.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a foggy amber colour, topped with a modest half-finger of foamy white head that soon dies down to a patchy cap. Aroma is quite nice but weak in intensity; biscuity caramel malts and butterscotch with some citrusy hop notes as well.

Most of the same notes from the nose are found in the flavour as well - lots of biscuity caramel malts, toffee and butterscotch. A little buttery. Some grapefruit hop bitterness takes over in the finish and lingers for a bit. Feels slick on the tongue and a bit creamy; medium-bodied with low carbonation. I didn't notice the alcohol, but I served this pretty cold.

I love IPAs, and it has been a while since I last reviewed one. This is not a hop bomb by any means but still, it's a tasty example of the style with no glaring faults. Maybe a little more English than American. Definitely worth a try, and something I may begin to pick up regularly.

[Updated March 31 2014]

A tallboy can this time - actually, now that I think about, I don't think I've seen any bottles of this in a few years. I'm getting a popcorn butter aroma off the glass, something I noticed the last time I purchased Dead Elephant (a few months ago). It's not appealing, but I'm assuming it's a freshness issue as this can is poised to expire shortly. I used to be a fan of this IPA, but I haven't been buying it much over the past little while because finding fresh cans can be a challenge, and there are just too many other great options available nowadays for the risk to be worth it.

Final Grade: 3.58, a B.

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Railway City Dead Elephant Ale from Railway City Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 149 ratings.