Dismiss Notice
Microbrew Invitational
Join us June 3 + 4 in Boston and help us drink 300+ beers, ciders, kombuchas, meads, sakes and more!

TICKETS: beeradvocate.com/micro/

Railbender Ale | Erie Brewing Co.

329 Reviews
For Trade:
Railbender AleRailbender Ale

Brewed by:
Erie Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States | website

Style: Scottish Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Erie Brewing Company flagship beer features a deep malt flavor, caramel sweetness lingering in a soft hop flavor. Dark Amber.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-17-2001

View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 329 | Ratings: 762
Photo of dacrza1
3.6/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

DATE: May 5, 2016... OCCASION: a cold night is the right night for a Scottish ale... GLASSWARE: Celebrator Doppelbock pokal... APPEARANCE: pours a bright copper color with sparse effervescence... the off-white head fizzles to a pencil-thin ring... AROMA: peat to start, with sweet bread and toffee-sweet richness... PALATE: medium-bodied and more lively than expected... sweet at the the lips and staying power at the finish... sneaky strong at 6.8%... TASTE: rich caramel and toffee strike a powerful 1-2 punch... toasted malts overtake any hop suggestions... the fruity esters are pear, maybe, and faint citrus... peat late... not enough impact to be considered a strength OVERALL: a solid offering that maintains the genre’s integrity... highly drinkable... hearty and warming, to boot--not a bad introduction to the Erie mix case, and a flagship that might not be worth revisiting in a sixer...

 900 characters

Photo of baconfromwalmart
3/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

L: Amber brown, some lacing after soft pour that disappeared quickly.
S: A fresh and very slightly tart malt.
T: Fruity esters mid sip, finishes with smooth malt. Not what I was expecting and a little weird, but not bad.
F: Low carbonation, pleasant thin mouth feel.
O: Not quite sure what to make of this.

 306 characters

Photo of Dr-Baltar
4.2/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look - Not in a glass I am comfortable judging from, so automatic 5!

Smell - Smells malty and a little sweet. A touch of smokiness

Taste - It is well balanced. It is not a robert the bruce or another very forward beer. Malty, caramelized, a little roasty, a touch of hops. Very nice

Feel - Nice carb and a little heavier.

Overall, it is a nicely balanced beer. I wouldn't mind a little more malt and hops, but still very nicely balanced.

 443 characters

Photo of jasonpeckins32
3.34/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Look: Auburn colored in the glass. Transparent. Not much head retention.

Smell: Caramel-covered sweet nut bread.

Taste: In the front it's sweet and big on caramel and toffee. A certain nuttiness is present. But all of this quickly fades into a finish that is insanely bready. That bread-like aftertaste lasts and lasts, at times almost becoming the most assertive aspect of the flavor profile.

It's medium bodied. The carbonation and mouthfeel are smooth, seemingly right where they should be.

I enjoyed this beer, and I hope to enjoy more from Erie Brewing again soon.

 585 characters

Photo of Smk54
3.76/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 12oz bottle into snifter. Clear Amber copper color with thick light brown head that dissipated quickly into good lacing. Mild malty bread notes. Smooth malty taste. No bitterness but not sweet. Hint of root beer aftertaste. Very good ale. Probably the best I've had from Erie Brewing.

 297 characters

Photo of scotorum
3.65/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75


Another from the beer club subscription Christmas gift from my daughters. We don't get Erie brews in my state.

a: Clear copper with an initially inch thick white head which receded quickly to a few small patches of surface foam and no lacing.

s: Mild bready-caramel.

t; Follows the nose but overpowered immediately by a fairly sharp bite. Bready finish. Mellows out later to a bready-caramel sweetness.

m: Medium with good body and heavy carbonation tingle.

o: Decent Scottish ale, easy drinking except for the overcarbonation.

 563 characters

Photo of atr2605
3.85/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A-pours a nice copper color with a white head with average retention
S-caramel, butterscotch, hint of prunes in the background
T-caramel, candied sugar, mild bitterness, and some dry biscuit flavors in the finish
M-medium bodied
O-Very drinkable beer, nice balance and sweetness.

 279 characters

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,


 1,583 characters

Photo of Jon_Hendricks
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber color.

Overall: Railbender is a strong Scottish style ale. It has a taste of a deep malt flavor with a caramel sweetness but finishes with a soft hop flavor. This is a good smooth beer that is worth a try.

 240 characters

Photo of NolaHopHead
3.79/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle. Filtered bright amber, only slight haze. Thin head totally disappears totally. Sweet malt aroma. Caramel malt sweetness fills the taste, but not as sweet as I was expecting, which is good. Medium to heavy mouthfeel and low carbonation. Solid Scottish ale.

 269 characters

Photo of TheBeerMaster1
2.54/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I won't lie the label first hand annoyed me. Nothing about it tells you it's a Scottish, nor did it tell you a mini synopsis of what you were diving into, but I digress. The beer was just as boring as well. It reminded me of a very low end diet version of Bells Amber ale, with some nutty and malty undertones. Also had a sweetener like kick to it, with a lot of unimpressive flavors floating around. Just didn't do it for me.

 426 characters

Photo of lwillitz
3.71/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12-oz bottle into Samuel Smith nonic

A - thin cream-colored head over a body of cloudy copper

S - caramel and bready malt

T - caramel sweetness, bread, nuts, touch of earthy bitterness, dark fruits, balanced finish

M - creamy medium body, medium/high carbonation

O - Railbender is decent. Pleasantly complex in flavor, but a little light in mouthfeel.

 357 characters

Photo of October
3.11/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Pretty weak malt flavors with some caramel notes. A smooth mouthfeel is the main redeeming quality here. it is likely that I need more time to adjust to this style. Will definitely revisit in the future.

 205 characters

Photo of mkh012
3.85/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A well-balanced, complex beer. I get light toffee and nuttiness on the nose, and the taste largely follows. I taste caramel, roasted peanuts, and very subtle hop notes. Overall, the flavors remind me a bit of a brown ale. The finish is milky and smooth. A bit thin but in a good way- easy drinking for almost 7% ABV. The flavors are subtle but work well together.

 363 characters

Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into snifter, no bottle dating. Pours lightly hazy/cloudy deep orange/copper color with a 1 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of raisin, plum, apple, caramel, toffee, toast, biscuit, brown sugar, nuttiness, light smoke, herbal, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Nice aromas with good complexity and solid balance of fruity/earthy yeast and dark/bready malt notes; with good strength. A bit too fruity in the nose. Taste of caramel, toffee, toast, biscuit, brown sugar, plum, apple, light nuttiness, light smoke, light herbal, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Minimal earthy herbal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toffee, toast, biscuit, brown sugar, plum, apple, light nuttiness/smoke, and yeast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt and light-moderate fruity/earthy yeast flavors; with zero cloying flavors present after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth, moderately creamy, and lightly bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice Scottish ale style. All around good robustness, balance, and complexity of dark/bready malt and light-moderate fruity/earthy yeast flavors; and very smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,549 characters

Photo of Ozzylizard
3.11/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Undated bottle at 45 degrees into tulip
Aroma very weak malt
Head small (2 cm, aggressive pour), off white, frothy, rapidly diminishing to 2 mm ring and layer
Lacing good – narrow complete ring of tiny bubbles
Body orange, clear; filled with very tiny suspended material
Flavor – not much. Weak malt; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, a little too watery to be creamy and a little too creamy to be watery, soft carbonation

Appearance 3.5, Aroma 3, Flavor 3, Palate 3.25, Overall 3.25

 503 characters

Photo of misternebbie
3.93/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I love this one, any its petty easy to get in my area, loads of flavor caramel and sugar, strong hints of toasty bread, I love Scotch Ales and this one goes down very nicely

 174 characters

Photo of Brutaltruth
3.98/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Having had this fantastic Scottish ale in bottle form, the tap version is just as good if not better. Pours a deep amber with light quickly dissipating head that leaves light white lacing. Smell of caramel, toffee, fresh biscuit, with a light peat smell. Taste is excellent with rich caramel malts and peat malt shinning through. Silky smooth mouthfeel, refreshing for a beer coming in at a higher ABV. Light toffee taste in the back with caramel malts and almost zero bittering hops. Excellent as always and one I would suggest to turn newbie beer lovers onto as well as the experienced beer nut. Cheers.

 605 characters

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.

 817 characters

Photo of Minkybut
2.93/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

I poured this beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. This was a hard beer to rate. I had one the night before and rated it YUK. I had two more to drink and liked them, so I guess I got a bad one and for that reason had to do a split decision here. The beer looked like gas, poured a weak head that was tan. The beer smelled sour the first one and tasted sour. Next two next night did not. I uess I would try it again.

 414 characters

Photo of hoptualBrew
4.05/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Light copper, clear as glass, off white head and descent lacing.

Aroma is interesting; sweet toffee, healthy dose of leather, mild dark fruit, touch caramel.

On the palate, the leather character is absent, but the rest of the aroma descriptors come through. Mostly a light to moderate toffee sweetness and mineral profile.

Light medium body, good carbonation, and smooth.

Overall, this is a good example of a Scottish ale. The sweet toffee and mineral characters are great, while the beer is light enough to drink in droves. The only detractor for me was the leather like quality in the aroma.

 598 characters

Photo of rangerred
3.21/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a nearly clear dark copper with a one finger off-white head. Very good head retention and quite impressive globs of lace clinging to the sides of the glass.

The aroma is caramel, toffee and more caramel and toffee. There is a very slight hint of hay in there but overall, it is quite one dimensionale with not a lot going on.

The flavor continues along the same path of the nose with toffee and caramel and not much else. This is lacking the smokiness that is typical of so many scottish ales and also lacks any real hop flavor. The saving grace, however, is the insanely high drinkability for a style that is not neccesarilly known for this trait. Sweetness is very low with alcohol completely hidden and a soft, smooth mouthfeel.

Overall, what this lacks in flavor it makes up for in drinkability. Not something I would really pick up again but a pleasure to drink the one I had.

 922 characters

Photo of Foam
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Perhaps my favorite of Erie Brewing's repetoire ... a take on Scotch Ale minus some of the candy sweet-ness that one finds in the real-deal Scotch Ales but , good enough , given the price ... As the B.A. Bros. state "beware of its drinkability." Yes, I concur .
Strong but , I consider it a session brew ... ideally, when you've got some cheese and meats around for buffering the stomach and not getting too warped ...

 418 characters

Photo of nukem5
3.69/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A: Poured into my mug and was slightly cloudy nice thin layer of foam on top even with an aggressive pour very little head.

S: Aroma is of sweet malts with a cereal scent along with a bread dough smell.

T: Taste is of sweet malts with light hop and carmel flavor.

M: Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a decent carbonation and no lacing.

O: Overall a great beer and one of my favorite offering from Erie Brewing, will always seek this out when the goal is to "Get Bent", thanks to the crew at Erie for a lways doing a great job.

 529 characters

Photo of tviz33
3.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

A- Pours a quickly rising three finger light tan head over top of a translucent amber body with lots of carbonation bubbles floating around. Head retention is great, but not much lacing.

S- The aroma is much different than anything I've ever smelled and had an odd nutty-fruity combination of smells that I can't put my finger on.

T- Again, this tastes different than anything I've ever had as well. Subtle and sweet fruit flavors accompany some malt flavor in an otherwise unique blend of flavors. A bitter finish lingers for a bit then dissipates.

M- The feel is quite thin with adequate carbonation and a touch of alcohol warming at the end.

O- I didn't know what to expect with this one, but it sure did surprise me. Not my favorite brew, but not offensive.

 813 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Railbender Ale from Erie Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 329 ratings.