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Railbender Ale - Erie Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Railbender AleRailbender Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

323 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 323
Hads: 740
Avg: 3.6
pDev: 22.22%
Wants: 22
Gots: 107 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Erie Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States | website

Style | ABV
Scottish Ale | 6.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-17-2001

Erie Brewing Company flagship beer features a deep malt flavor, caramel sweetness lingering in a soft hop flavor. Dark Amber.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 323 | Hads: 740
Photo of Cnote_crafty_1
5/5  rDev +38.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Erie Brewing Company - Railbender Ale Scottish Style Ale 6.8% ABV. 26 IBU's

Look: Light copper/orangish with a ultra thin white head. It is slightly hazey and translucent. If you put your hand behind it you will only see the a shadowy outline of your hand.
Smell: Sweet caramel, sweet malty, raisins, grapes, sort of reminds me of grape wine slightly.
Taste: The taste is very much in line with the smell. Sweet and malty, caramel, raisins, grape and once the alcohol hits maybe a bit of a rum flavor. Then there is a slight hop bite on the back end that is dry.
Feel: The feel is not too light at all. It is smooth and milky with alot of fast carbonation. A ton of tiny bubbles.
Overall: This is pretty much my definition of a good Scotch ale. I haven't had any that I like better than this one. I bought a six pack of this at the Giant Eagle in Homestead and it turned out to have gone bad. It didn't have any dates on it and I wondered why. I tried to get my money back and the lady at Giant Eagle customer service told me she couldn't give me anything for it because of P.A. liqour laws. I am pretty sure this is a load of horse manure. Anyways, I emailed the people at Erie Brewing and they fixed my up really nicely. They said Ken from Vecenie distributers would like to give me a new six pack in exchange for my skanked sixer. They did so and the new six pack had the some old taste I have come to know and love. It just goes to show Erie Brewing is good for their word and will mend any problems related to their product. Faith restored, Cheers,


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Photo of ghilt
4.89/5  rDev +35.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of the BEST ales I've tasted in years! It was smooth, rich tasting with a lingering sweetness which made me want more. It is a perfect blend in my opinion. Although 6.8%, it has no bite! For me it went very well with a nice dinner meal or as a stand-alone ale. No true ale drinker will be disappointed with Railbender' Ale. I love it!

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Photo of Garlicjosh
4.75/5  rDev +31.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

One finger head that fades fast into a light ring on the edge
Light brown / copper in color with a decent, constint stream of carbonation bubbles.

Roasted Malts right away with nutty and toffee not far behind. Roasted smell lingers in my nose as I go to take my first sip

Almost spot on to the smell just more of it. The roasted smell makes no attempt to blend in. The nutty that I got in the smell trails behind and starts to blend in more towards the back of my palate in which it meets up with a hint of wood. No alchol and really no lacing on the glass...none that sticks around long anyway.

nicely heavy but still smooth making it easy to drink...on a dangerous level.

I find this to be a fantastic ale. Has made me decide to seek out more scotch ales. I love the complexity while still having a high drink ability.

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Photo of chefhatt
4.5/5  rDev +25%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really like this beer. The appearance is cooper color with not a a lot of white head to it, but leaves a thin lace around the rim of the body. The smell is very inviting of sweet malts and a hint of hops and a little bit of fruit. The taste is outstanding of sweet cherries and a little bit of hops. The mouth feel is very smooth and is very drinkable.

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Photo of alucardswordlol
4.45/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Last beer I had after the Erie samples. This and the Crude are their two best.

Appearance - Really fits the style, heavy amber hues and a nice light head. Wee bit hazy.

Smell - The smell is definitely muted compared to the taste. Mild toffee and caramel hints to the sweetness in the beer.

Taste - Drank plenty of Scotch ales back home in Glasgow and this is quite good. Very silky with how the toffee, caramel, and biscuity flavours come together. You would never know it is 7%. Unlike other scotch ales there is no heat and I like the absence of hops in the flavor.

Mouthfeel - Quite light, even for a scotch ale. Only adds to its drinkability and the carbonation was perfect.

Overall - Very good interpretation of the style. The flavors and body make this one of the most drinkable malty beers on the market.

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Photo of bpw28
4.42/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Look: Two finger off white shaving cream head, copper (about a 16 SRM), very good lacing, lots and lots of carb.

Smell: Medium roasted malts, milk chocolate, espresso notes, light floral smell, slight wood. Very clean nose.

Taste: Medium full feeling malts, milk chocolate, light coffee, woods, earthy, bready yeasty, very nice floral hop backbone bitter. Body is medium and slightly chewy, carb a little much.

Final Thoughts: Very nice. This is very malt forward and it showcases some great flavors. It's very nice and tasty. Could be one of my more favorite scottish ales.

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Photo of asabreed
4.4/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

One of my favorite little-known beers, if you will. Goes for around $20 a case, which in my opinion is surely a steal (though I seem to say that a lot I feel).

Appearance: Not the most impressive in the world, but pretty good overall. Decent white head that dissipates quickly. Amber and copper color, while on the lighter side and also has pretty full carbonation.

Smell: Good balance of hops and malt in the nose, or at least that's what it smells like. Kind of sweet, but welcoming, not overbearing. Smells of fruit also.

Taste: Very fruity and complex, with some hop bitterness lingering, though the malts are more present than anything. Alcohol presence is more evident as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, medium carbonation. Pretty good overall.

Drinkability: At 6.8% it can be deceiving; though the alcohol is evident, it's not overpowering, and it can be a pretty wicked (in the good and bad sense of the word) session beer if you let.

I realize the Erie Brewing Company is small, but if you have a chance to try it, definitely do. I feel it's their best beer (though there are few), and it should get more hype than it does.

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Photo of Jerzdevil1116
4.4/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz Bottle purchased at State Line Liquors in Elkton, MD.

A- Amber colored body. Thin white head dissipated over a minute or two. Steady carbonation rising in the glass.

S- Smells dominated by malt. Sweet caramel and toffee, slightly bready. Just a hint of hops.

T- Starts off with a malty sweetness. Caramel and toffee. Finshes with a refreshing hop bitterness. Also has a small alcohol presence in the finish.

M- Smoothe and crisp. Light to meduim bodied. A little carbonation tingle.

D- A very well balanced beer. Goes down easy and has flavor. Maybe one that I should try a session with in the future. Wish it was more available near my home.

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Photo of jdspears41
4.38/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I found this at a local gas station and decided to give it a shot after a long days work.

A-I poured this into a pint glass and noticed it his a light brown color with a small head of foam.

S-Not a very strong smell but it has a faint smell of hops.

T- Great taste with a great after taste...Has a small smoke taste to it...

M-Has a small bite to it with a little carbonation.

Give it a try!

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Photo of deaconoflove
4.37/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Ap. Slightly cloudy dark golden brown with not much head.
Sm. Caramel or butterscotch comes up front, but there's a light citris back there somewhere.
Ta. Caramel first with a bit of coffee poking through. A thinned or lightened caramel, pleasant. Finishes slightly sweet eventually.
Mf. Thick, but not.
Dr. This one is tasty and will be gone way too soon. Yummy.

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Photo of QXSTER1
4.33/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, lovely dark amber, with an off white head that thins and laces down the glass. Crisp toasted malt flavors lead to a subdued but balancing hop finish. Plenty of malt and true to style, but leans towards the hop accented Scottish Ales. A tasty pizza and wings beer.

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Photo of y2jrock60
4.33/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark red brown with almost no head and lacing. It looks very maple syrup like.

S- Mild malt tones with some sweet and smokey notes.

T- Light sweetness upfront followed by mild malt flavor and a slight smokiness.

M- Medium light bodied with low carbonation.

D- Highly drinkable, this is defiantly one of my favorite Scotch Ales.

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Photo of rebel1771
4.3/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark reddish brown color clouded with yeast. Not much head even with a vigorous pour.

S: Sweet malt aroma of candied raisins along with a touch of molasses.

T: Mellow sweet flavor of sweetbread with raisins along a dose of smoke. Very drinkable.

D: Much more balanced than what I expected, very mellow and at 6.8% AVB dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of GoodKnight1220
4.3/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a six pack of bottles.

Poured a nice golden yellow-orange with little head.

Smelled of sweet malt and caramel.

Taste was a grainy sweet malt, with tons of flavor that changes throughout the mouthfull.

Thought the mouthfeel was very smooth and easy to go down. Could drink a lot of this, and did.

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Photo of tgdigital
4.28/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is one of my go to beers. It's not going to completely wow anyone anytime soon, but it is a beer that I personally find incredibly palletable and hyper-drinkable. The beer itself looks like a standard amber ale with a nice frothy white head. Mainly caramel in the nose with light floral hops. The taste is rich caramel sweetness which is balanced nicely with floral hops. The mouthfeel is good but not exceptional finishing sweet. This is definitely a session beer that is easy to forget that there is almost 7% alcohol.

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Photo of chuckm
4.27/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

first pour brought out a coppery color a little lighter than I expected. Head was short but lacing was good throughout. Smell had a hint of smoke but on first swallow all that I thought of was wow! for a style I usually don't seek out this is damn good. Slightly sweet but not enough to last in your mouth and be intrusive this beer went down quickly. In fact if I hadn't planned on 4 being included in 6 pack mixes for a few friends back home I would have enjoyed more than the 2 I did. Will buy again but the price at my store 9.99 may make that infrequent.

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Photo of njthebestofme
4.22/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

at first sight it was a nice copper tone with a decent head kinda off white.. sweet was sweat hints of hops..taste was smooth with a hoppy malty taste.. with a sweet after taste.. hops was nice with a carmel taste.. not very overpowering just right a smooth .. cheers

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.2/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer review from BA Mag Dec 2007.

A bit surprising to see a year-round Old Ale--surprising in a good way as most brewers use this style for one-offs or winter seasonals.

Decent foaming action from a medium pour, the head does dissipate to a thin lacing but still sticks to the glass. Clarity is a touch hazy but it's more of a temporary chill haze as it does become completely clear when the beer warms up. Big caramel toffee note in the front of the house, smells a little bit like taffy but the faint alcohol and bready grain brings the aroma down to beerdom. Very smooth with a creamy mouthfeel, malt flavor comes across as very pleasing right from the start.

Fresh-baked bread with caramel tones, a little nutty and a faint husky note in the back. Hops drop a little bit of bitterness and a kiss of herbal flavor. Fruitiness is kept to a minimum with a trace, dried plum flavor. Finishes semisweet with a long lingering malt flavor on the palate.

This beer is just more proof that great beer comes from PA. Beware of its drinkability.

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Photo of aranheaney
4.2/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a DFH Snifter.

A-Dark ruby red, brown

S-Toffee, caramel, heather, really nice from beginning to end

T-Awesome, this is really a very pleasant surprise, haven't previously reviewed many Scotch Ales, but this is a definite keeper

M-very solid, nothing unpleasant

O-really enjoyable, if looking for something a bit different, this is it

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.2/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber with a tan head.

Smells of roasted malt and caramel, backed by a floral bouquet with fresh berry notes.

Roasted malt bready mouth feel dominates giving way to caramel with some bitter burnt sugar notes. Finishes dry with a slight bitter herb taste. An excellent beer with big malt flavor.

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Photo of shirfan
4.2/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark orange-copper with a thin layer of white foam and lots of small particulate matter.

Juicy, fruity aroma -- warm rich malt, overripe pear, baked apple. Almost a whiff of turpentine.

Flavor is rich, thick, juicy, sweet. Caramelized malt mingles with some fruity, almost Belgian notes, yet stays *just* in the scottish ale realm instead of becoming a frankenbeer. Pear, caramel chews, a touch of pepper in the finish. Very sweet but not quite cloying, and just smooth enough to not be a slow sipper.

I guess there's more to Erie PA than walleye fishing and gas stations.

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Photo of longdivision
4.16/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a six-pack solely based on a recommendation. What a surprise! A very interesting beer. Poured into a pint glass, it looked like a copper hefeweizen, very hazy with particulates. Smells kind of fruity. More so than it tasted. Had a hint of bubble-gum at times. It's a challenge to describe, never had a beer quite like this. Not too hoppy, but not really sweet either. Although, these characteristics were both present. You could easily have a few. I would recommend, but try before you buy.

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Photo of MuddyMcGinny
4.15/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hard pour into a English nonic pint.

Amber deep red/orange color with a good two finger froth that hung around a bit. Smell of malt, molasses, caramel, and roasted barley. Bit o' nuts and spice. A little lighter than I had expected and real smooth. Very drinkable medium body. Just enough bitter to bring down the sweetness of the malt and caramel.

Scottish Ales can be a little tough to find so if it's cold outsude and you find a sixer or two of this puppy on the shelf grab 'em and start a fire! Great job by Erie here with their American version of a Scottish Ale.

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Photo of bamadog
4.15/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a random purchase -- I was actually getting ready to leave my beloved Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and head back home to my new beloved Commonwealth of Kentucky and stopped at a distributor in order to pick up some Yuengling for a friend and came across a case of this ale. I figured, why not? Not a bad beer at all. Serving came from the bottle and poured into a 16 oz. standard pint glass.

Appearance: A nice coppery color with just the slightest hint of cloudiness to it. No real head to speak of, but does leave a nice lacing down the sides of the glass as it goes down.

Smell: Kind of carmelly (if that's a word), slight bitterness of the hops in the background, so I feel the presence of these two characteristics is a little backwards to what I would expect.

Taste: Nice -- a little sweet, kind of sugary almost, with a nice hoppiness in the back of it. Not an overpowering taste so I've enjoyed it with food as it seems to compliment nicely and doesn't take anything away from it. When I saw that it was listed as a Scottish Ale, it made a little more sense to me that the sweetness is that present. My experience with this particular style has been similar.

Mouthfeel: Has a nice stickiness to it from the hops and it allows the taste to linger just a little bit. A nice mouthfeel that doesn't overpower the palate.

Drinkability: I would give this a higher drinkability because it seems like an ale that could be used for a session. It isn't going to overpower you or get you wasted with an obscenely high ABV.

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Photo of Stunner97
4.12/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- dark brown with a slightly amber red tint, murky and cloudy with good amount going on in this brewsky, pours with foam white head that quickly fades to white lacing,

Smell- very powerful sweet malty flavor, raisons, rum, and whiskey, overall very candied carmel and sweet malt dominated nose, yummy

Taste- very overall malt dominated flavor that not super cloying with a little bit of dryness at the end which ever so slightly keeps the super malty beer in check, flavor is enjoyable as the fact its sweet would hide many of its flaws, nice finish

Mouthfeel- medium bodied with a nice crisp enoyable feel

Drinkability- actually very drinkable, like this alot more then some of there beers I have had in the past this is a sweet beer but still not overally cloying, good fun beer, not world changing but not bad at all

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Railbender Ale from Erie Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 323 ratings.