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Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale - Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

Not Rated.
Steel Rail Extra Pale AleSteel Rail Extra Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

583 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 583
Reviews: 214
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 13.73%
Wants: 10
Gots: 51 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Berkshire Brewing Company Inc. visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: UnionMade on 08-22-1996

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 583 | Reviews: 214 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Amalak
3.15/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This has a straw yellow color with a good foamy, white head that leaves a good amount of lacing. Very cloudy. It has a crisp, caramel scent to it.

While it looks and smells good, it has a kind of skunked taste to it. Slight wheat, malt. No bitterness for a pale ale. Very dull. Very light.

Photo of Pittsburgh
3/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not a bad beer, but average in my opinion.

Nothing jumped out at me, and it also was not my personal taste. I like a stronger pale ale, it was lacking flavor, hoppiness to me was not there, and there was not alot of extra flavor to compensate for the lack of hops.

It's smooth, goes down easy, but is lacking in the taste department in my opinion. Could use a little more complexity to spice things up.

I hate to be all negative about a beer, but I think it was a plain for a micro-brew. There are some good flavors there, but it is hard to pick up on them to me. Maybe if they just made it stronger it would be awesome.

Maybe I had a bad bottle, and I will give it a second chance if I ever see it on tap.

Photo of BeerMusketeer
3.87/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the Union Brewhouse in Weymouth. A great pale ale! I could drink about 100 of these if my liver would let me. Smells bready and a little sweet. Taste is super smooth, the sweetness persists, but a citrus and gentle bitter hops finish it off perfectly. A very solid pint.

Photo of DoreenAndDave
4.13/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy copper color with a thin ivory head. Aroma is mild, Some hops and slightly grassy. Taste is very nice. Smooth with malts up front and a moderately hoppy, citrusey finish. The smooth and citrus sensations remind me of a creamsicle. But in a good way. Mouthfeel is nice and it's very drinkable. This is a nice beer. It's a nice change of pace from the aggressive and hoppy double and extreme IPAs that I often have. Tasty, well balanced, and very refreshing.

Photo of ThreeDimesDown
3.57/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

3-13-2010, 22 oz. bottle

Upon opening the bottle, I had high expectations for this beer. The smell was balanced, albeit light in hops for an American pale ale, and the pour was nice with a golden yellow, slightly haze color. The carbonation is low and does not encourage a decent head.

Grassy with a hint of citrus hoppiness along with a stronger malt taste adds to this beer's light, crisp taste.

Unfortunately my expectations were not quite met. Not particularly a special brew, but still a solid spring/summer drinking ale.

Photo of woodychandler
3.33/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Another quality from Uncle Gary & Co.! My pour resulted in a finger of off-white head with decent retention. Color was a slightly hazy golden-yellow. Nose was slightly malty for the style, but there were obviously hops involved. Mouthfeel was medium with a decent hop bite on the tongue, along with a yeasty mustiness. Finish was slightly bitter, but not enough to keep me satiated.

Photo of jeffthecheff
3.84/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Best by 5/04/10 printed on the label.

Pours a "beer colored" gold with a white, thin head that has great lacing and retention. There is some slight haze.

The aroma has a tame hop presence with some gentle citrus and some green leaves. It also has some ale fruitiness. It smells nice, but doesn't have the hop presence of an American Pale Ale.

Like the nose, the beer is light and subtle in the flavor. Bitterness is low, and malt flavors are clean and tame. It has a general, clean ale fruitiness to it. It reminds me of a mix between a pale ale and a golden ale. The body is moderate and the carbonation is low to moderate. This does a good job of keeping the beer interesting. If it was crisp and light bodied, it might be boring. Very drinkable beer. This would be great to have in a keg at a summer party. I'm not sure where the "extra" is coming from, and it's not much of a pale ale either. It's just a good beer.

Photo of tigg924
3.55/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: minimal head, gold in color, clear

Smell: sweet honey, malt, and grass

Taste: sweet honey, malt, small hops, touch of spice--maybe cinnamon, and grass

Mouthfeel: sweet bordering cloying, light bodied, minimal carbonation

Drinkability: To me this is an above average APA. I like the touch of honey in this brew. I could have a six.

Photo of Hophead101
2.89/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

drank on 11.20.08 from a 22oz bottle into goblet beer glass.

nice brownish gold color. great head, very thick and foamy accompanied by impressive lacing. the head stuck around a good bit. the smell was hugely disappointing. not really much there. mildly sweet malty smell with some citrus undertones (which I may be forcing myself to smell).

taste is just weird. not sure how to describe it. very malty backbone - some hops - but seems to all clash giving it a nasty not that pleasant mouthfeel. not a huge fan.

Photo of ribby
3.92/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this from a 22 oz bottle.

Hazy light yellow color. Not a lot of head. Taste is restrained, pretty hoppy, light on the maltiness, with a hint of citrus.

In the mouth, it feels a lot more carbonated than the light head would suggest.

This is a very drinkable beer, it feels like a good summer beer.

Photo of mikesgroove
3.8/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cracked this one open on the afternoon the other day. Was looking for something light to start the day and this one seemed to fit. Served cold and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 12/31/2009.

The pour was nice, light golden color, with a tight head of white on the top that fizzled out quickly leaving only minimal lacing on the top of the glass, but lots of carbonation visible. Light aroma of grain, hints of subtle herbal hops and a light, but noticable bready touch to it. As I take the first sip the light, well carbonated body hits the spot immediatly. Crisp and clean with a mellow and subdued profile. Light touches of grain and grassy hop notes play around on the palate, not much depth to it but it was very refreshing and clean. Subtle finish did not leave much on the tongue but it was nice.

Overall a light, refrseshing and enjoyable pale ale. Nothing really off here and it does what it should.

Photo of oldirtycaffrey
4.2/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

had this @ The '6 Pub in Williamstown, MA and it was an incredibly tasty beer. pours a basic straw color w/ a slight off-white head and a good amount of lacing on the glass. malty & hoppy in taste; but for a bitter beer, wow--VERY drinkable and smooth. has a nice, crisp kick to it. would be a great session beer. preferred the drayman's porter b/c it went well with my roast beef wrap, but this was excellent as well.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.21/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Polished lemon peel with both slowly rising and rapidly rising streams of bubbles. The upper third of the pint glass is filled with a good looking crown of elephant tusk colored foam that has a finely pitted surface. Extensive sheets of delicate lace get the job done as well.

The color and the aroma would suggest that nothing darker than pale malt is used. Maybe that's why BBC uses 'Extra Pale' in the beer's name. The hops don't have the typical citrus fruitiness that is present in most APAs. In fact, the hops aren't very aromatic or very distinctive at all.

It would be interesting to find out if Berkshire has changed this recipe since the mid 1990s. The label has a copyright date of 1994, not that that means anything. It certainly tastes like an ale that was created before the hop craze hit the craft brew world. That doesn't make it bad, just uninteresting to someone who cut his teeth on something much more flavorful. In case you're wondering, the 'best by' date is still more than 3 months away.

Biscuity malts lay down a solid base and add a modicum of sweetness. Top notes include a light grassy muskiness and a few shavings of lemon peel. Ale yeast esteriness isn't usually noted in beer of this style (due to the hops), but it is here. This is obviously well-crafted beer, but it doesn't have the flavor chops to stand out in any way, shape or form.

The mouthfeel is light-medium and hangs on well enough on the finish to earn an above average score. The bubbles are okay too, if a little on the scarce side.

Berkshire Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale's claim to fame is that it was the first beer reviewed on this site, 13 long years ago. I'm sure it has its fans out Massachusetts way, but it doesn't really hold up when compared to the more modern versions of the style.

Photo of donniecuffs
3.05/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bottle to a pint glass. Slightly hazy golden/amber, with no head or much lacing. The nose wasn't that pronounced, with only a subtle hint of biscuit and brown sugar and no hops. The taste was the same; really not much flavor at all, and the little that existed was very imbalanced. The feel was ever so slightly carbonated. I wouldn't session this beer due to lack of flavor.

Photo of mtbbaboon
3.93/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this on tap a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed it, so I picked up a bottle for the sole purpose of reviewing it. A gentle pour left a half inch head that has decent retention. The head never fully went away (until I drank it all). Small amount of lacing. Smells fruity and grassy. Not a real strong aroma, but a pleasant one. The main thing I notice about the taste is the sweetness. It's not *very* sweet, but it complements the mild hoppiness nicely. Small amount of bitterness comes through after the swallow. It's a good taste that is well balanced. Light to medium body to it. It's an easy drinker and an enjoyable one.

Photo of armock
3.53/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to DrDogbeer for sending this one my way.

A - Poured a clear golden color with a white head that leaves spotty lacing behind

S - Has a light nose bready malt and mild hops

T - The bready malt is the main thin that sticks out theres a slight bittering from the hops

M - This beer has a medium body with medium carbonation to it

D - Overall a decent beer a little more malty than I expected for an APA but still a good beer worth checking out sometime

Photo of BARFLYB
3.86/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Birradr14 for sharing the bottle, served in some pint glasses.

This had a pale golden/yellow mix of a color with a certain clarity to it. A semi frothy white head rose up about a inch before going into a cap, loose lines of lacing. The smell was interesting, a good mix of hops and malts with some earthiness. The taste was not far off with some grassy/floral flavors from the hops and just a hint of citrus. Some grain and malt rounding this out. The feel is above light with a crisp finish. The ABV is real low, so I would not mind polishing off a bomber of this on my lonesome.

Photo of Kendo
3.78/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Served in a pint glass at the Red Lion Inn in the Berkshires for lunch. Body is golden-straw in color with a small whitish head. Leaves good lace behind.

S: Faint in the nose -- some cereal-type grains and floral hops.

T: Cereal grains again with some toastyness. Followed by florally hops again. Finishes with a mild, dry lemony bitterness.

M: Light-to-medium bodied. Smooth with good carbonation levels.

D: Very good for what it is -- a light, easy-drinking APA. In fact, calling this one an "extra pale" makes sense on a lot of levels. Not earth-shattering, but solid.

Photo of far333
3.85/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Straw yellow with fine streams of bubbles rising up. A fluffy white head rises up quickly and sizzles back down to a half inch of foam.

Aroma of corn add butterscotch, some grassy notes.

Even flavor of bready malt, notes of corn and butter. Some toffee and honey and slight floral and lemon nuances in the finish. Mild bitterness, low hop profile.

Full and rich mouthfeel, very creamy. Tasty and drinkable beer, nice even sessionable sipper.

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.63/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 22 ounce bomber bottle. Thanks to brothercannon for bringing this back from VT. Poured into my nonic Imperial pint glass. The ale appears a hazed golden straw yellow with about two fingers of off white head. Nose and flavor are of toasted grains, earthy citrus hops, lemon, lightly sweet malts. Nice medium body with adequate carbonation for a pale ale. Certainly worth a try.

Photo of argock
3.33/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22oz brown bomber into a clear pint glass. No freshness date. Purchased at Ancona's (Ridgefield, CT) for $4.49.

A: Honey-golden with off-white, 1-2 finger head with decent retention and lacing.

S: Light aromas of light fruit maltiness and floral hops. A very ale-ly aroma.

T: The flavor is too fruity overall and could use a major hops boost, not just because I like hops, but because the balance is not there in this brew. Fruity pear is met with caramel and light grain followed by minimal floral hops. A must-have for those that like very fruity ales.

M: A little slick with a very light body which make me wonder a bit about maltload, althought Berkshire's other offerings have been excellently crafted and malted brews. Carbonation is appropriately low and aftertaste is very fruity and sweet.

D: There's nothing really objectionable about Steel Rail but it is a (too) fruity APA that is somewhat out of balance. I love hops, but also love a malty brew -- this one unfortunately doesn't quite reach the minimum hops bar to keep a reasonable balance.

Photo of Jayli
3.85/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up (and consumed)a growler at Gordon's in Waltham on 6/11/09.
This beer pours a slightly cloudy pale golden yellow with a two finger white foamy head to it. Thick lacing is left on the side of the glass the whole way down. Nose is yeasty, pale malts, touch of light citrusy hops. Taste is of pale malts predominantly, touch of graininess and yeast consumes the middle, with a nice citrus hop finish to it. On the lighter side of medium bodied, medium to higher carbonation, clean finish to it. This is a highly sessionable beer and certainly one to help open the door to craft brews for non-craft drinkers.

Photo of mirish72
3.63/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a growler for a BBQ, figured it was a good compromise for the non beer drinkers (those drinking Coors Light).

Overall it was pretty much what I expected, nothing out of this world, but not bad. Pretty standard pale ale, not too hoppy, but an easy drinking casual session beer.

I am not a big growler guy, but with a few folks trying it out, it was the perfect size. I tend to be a fan of BBC so this was a nice change of pace.

Photo of DrJay
3.62/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Faint haze and pale yellow with a thin white cap that settled quickly into a collar and skim. A bit of lacing. Subdued hop aroma with notes of lemon, earth, and citrus. Faint malt. Mild lemony bitterness up front with a bit hanging on in the finish. Mild malt sweetness with some fruitiness, citrus hops, hint of hop spice. Soft, buttery texture, lowish carbonation with medium/light body. A decent pale ale.

Photo of dan4th
3.34/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A very nice head came on this pint of semi-cloudy brew, which lasts surprisingly long and clings to the glass. Color is reminicent of wood-pressed cider- not hard cider, but the new England in autumn stuff. Golden with hints tan with hints of red. The nose is surprisingly sweet, and continues the suggestion of apples. Carbonation is more felt than seen or tasted, both on the tongue, and embarrassingly, in the stomach. Crisp and refreshing, this beer made me think longingly of shandies. Nothing too complicated, but a solid offering and not oppressively hoppy, which is a nice surprise in a pale ale.

Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
81 out of 100 based on 583 ratings.