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Railbender Ale - Erie Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Railbender AleRailbender Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

663 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 663
Reviews: 313
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 14.56%
Wants: 20
Gots: 41 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Erie Brewing Co. visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Scottish Ale |  6.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-17-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Railbender Ale Alström Bros
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Ratings: 663 | Reviews: 313 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of djrn2
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%

djrn2, May 29, 2014
Photo of spycow
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

spycow, Mar 11, 2013
Photo of acurtis
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%

acurtis, Oct 21, 2013
Photo of nmann08
3/5  rDev -17.6%

nmann08, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of metter98
3.63/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: The beer is hazy coppery orange in color and has a light amount of carbonation along with some fine particles visible floating in suspension. It poured with a thin beige head that died down, leaving some lacing on the surface and a thin collar around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of caramel and butterscotch malts in the nose—these become stronger as the beer warms up.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and very malty but the caramel flavors are much more pronounced.
M: It feels medium-bodied and slightly sticky on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is a good representation of the style and isn’t that difficult to drink, especially since the alcohol is well hidden from the taste.

metter98, Sep 29, 2012
Photo of brentk56
3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a fairly clear amber color with a very modest head that fades to a ringlet with only a few splashes of lace

Smell: Not sure I can put my finger on that aroma; there is some caramel and something herbaciously medicinal; also somewhat bready

Taste: Opens with a blast of caramel that builds and then flattens as some bitterness from the hops impacts it by mid-palate; after the swallow, the flavors surrender

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbination

Drinkability: Its just OK; easy to drink and easy to forget

brentk56, Apr 22, 2008
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.1/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Finely flecked kumquat with multiple streams of tiny bubbles leading up to a richly creamy cap that is somewhere between ivory and palest ecru in color. I'm not sure the beer looks all that Scottish, but then I'm not sure that Scottish ales have a typical look. Thin, sudsy sheets of lace are beginning to appear on the glass. I hope it tastes as good as it looks.

I pick up just a hint of earthy maltiness in the nose... and very little else. Again, there's nothing here that is especially Scottish. Actually, the brewery calls this an English old ale. Since that isn't a style recognized here, I'd say it fits English strong ale better than anything else. Maybe I'll change my mind once I actually taste it.

Now I'm not sure what the hell to call it since there's almost nothing of interest on the taste buds. Give me more to go on Erie. Railbender is caramel malt-dominant with a touch of earthy, probably English, hoppiness. It's sort of bock-like, but I'll still have to go with English strong ale for $100 Alex. A noticeable alcohol presence is further confirmation of that style choice.

Nothing really stands out within the flavor profile. There's more flavor than aroma, but the beer spins its wheels on the palate and can't seem to get any traction. It seems that an overhaul is in order. I'd keep the name and the cool looking train engine on the label though.

The mouthfeel impresses more than everything except the appearance. While it could stand to be a little more chewy (especially for the style that I've now bestowed upon it), it's smooth enough and supple enough to get me through the rest of the bottle with ease. The quiet carbonation is loud enough.

I can now say with finality that Erie Brewing Company beer is not to my liking. I bought three bottles during my last trip home to Ohio. After being disappointed by the first two, I placed what little hope I had left in Railbender. Unfortunately, it failed to meet me halfway. Not recommended.

BuckeyeNation, Dec 14, 2006
Photo of BEERchitect
3.18/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Railbender takes on a bright copper-amber color (a bit on the lighter side) with average head formation, retention, and no lacing (tough for Scottish Ales to do).

Aromas are very rich on the caramel malts. Sweet with toffee, syrups, caramel candies, and barley malt. A sweet bread, biscuity aroma also gives rise to the rich maltiness.

Flavors do much the same with the toffee and caramels leading the way. Sweet through and through with alcohol bitterness helping out in the reduced role of hops.

Malty and bready with sweetness heavy on the front end. Although the beer shows a froathy breadiness late, the sweetness eventually proves too much.

In the end, the beer is a nice but obscure ale that doesn't give as much earthiness, rich maltiness, or complex grains to compete with true Scottish varieties like Belhaven's Wee Heavy. Too much sweetness and not enough maltiness makes a big difference.

BEERchitect, Jan 19, 2010
Photo of kylehay2004
3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: single finger head. Clear dirty golden. Lots of lace

S: musty and vinegar like hop aroma. grain and bread with caramel notes.

T: semi sweet caramel malt dominates. Crisp taste. Bread notes.

M: light body. Mild carbonation

Overall: The aroma for be was a little sour and vinegar like which I wasn't a fan of.

kylehay2004, Sep 01, 2011
Photo of Knapp85
3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Railbender pours out as a deep brown color with some red highlights. The smell of the beer gives off some earthy aromas along with some roasted sweet malts. The taste of the beer has some subtle dark fruit sweetness to it that's backed up but a dry toasty finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied. Overall it's not the best Scottish Ale out there but it might be worth trying.

Knapp85, Jun 01, 2011
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours out a slightly hazed, darkened amber-hued body with a wispy, white head.

Smell: Fairy malt-forward aroma, smelling of notes of toasted bread and sweet toffee. Notes of properly ripened fruit. A couple minutes of warming begins to impart some nutty accents.

Taste: Sweetish malty opening representing the toast and toffee found in the nose. Then, a bit of nutty peanut brittle slips in. Little crackle of fruitiness. Wee touch of hops. Some drying alcohol on precludes the modestly malty finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-plus carbonation.

Drinkability: A beer where, if it weren't for these notes, I would have forgotten about it entirely. It's acceptable, I suppose, but a bit of a disappointment, considering this is Erie's flagship beer. Ah well.

ChainGangGuy, Feb 28, 2010
Photo of oberon
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a big seller last night at the Pizza Plant quite popular with the patrons,poured a dull lighter amber with a thinner off white head.Fruity malt and brown sugar in the nose with some lighter sweet dough notes as well.Lightly sweet and somewhat fruity definently malt tilted,some brown sugar and cookie dough in the finish.Hmm not a bad ale quite good but seems its just misisng something to make it a real winner but still good as it is.

oberon, May 26, 2006
Photo of zeff80
3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a somewhat cloudy, burgundy color with a soapy, with big bubbles, tan, one-finger head. It left small traces of lace.

S - It smelled of sweet caramel malts with an earthy quality.

T - It tasted very sweet with a roasted malt taste. It had an interesting grassy/mossy flavor.

M - A soft, smooth and somewhat creamy ale. A medium-bodied brew.

D - This is a pretty good scottish ale, but not the best. It is very drinkable, but not the best representation of the style.

zeff80, Nov 22, 2008
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A rough pour brings up a full, frothy ivory head over a clear, deep reddish-amber body. The head holds fairly well, then drops to a nice creamy collar, and leaves some nice lace throughout the glass. The aroma offers some nice soft fruit and gently spicy & floral hops above a mildly sweet malt. The body is medium with a very fine & moderate carbonation that leaves it creamy and smooth in the mouth. The flavor offers a softly sweet & gently caramel-tinged maltiness that's well-balanced by a thread of grassy hop flavor and a supportive bitterness. A touch of alcohol is sometimes noticeable but actually seems to add to the character of the beer rather than distracting from it. It finishes softly with a mild drying alcohol, a dull bitter note and a sticky maltiness. Nicely done, and actually quite unique. There's much more to this beer than the first impression gives. Worth trying.

NeroFiddled, Dec 25, 2002
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

i really like this one. a red ale (not sure why it says scottish?) but its a red through and through, all malty and sweet, but this one has a nice hop kick as well, and a really jivey carbonation which makes it really drinkable. medium body, medium abv, great palate. the nose and taste are both overloaded with amber malt and crisp american hops. i think it is erie's flagship beer. would like to see this one get a little broader distrobution. nice local product for northwestern pa, otherwise a beer wasteland

StonedTrippin, Nov 28, 2011
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was pleased to see this one flowing on draft tonight at Lancelot's in Wintersville, OH...appears a copper amber tone with an off white cream head leaves nice lacing around my glass even with each sip. Aromatics mild caramel and warming nutty edge very light herbal hops rather clean with a slight mineral character as well. Flavor is clean with a good mix of hops and malts nutty caramel tone with a clean mild herbal hop finish. Mouthfeel is in the light to medium body range with moderate carbonation very nice stuff. Drinkability is really good stuff not the most complex brew but quaffable beer from up in Erie...one of my first bottle reviews I take it back not bad at all.

WVbeergeek, Feb 01, 2007
Photo of nickfl
2.9/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - One finger of off-white head on a hazy, copper colored body. The foam settles quickly and leaves nice lace.

S - Light malt sweetness and some caramel. A hint of british hops and a big dose of butter.

T - Slightly sweet, heavily toasted malt up front with musty hops. Some sour grainy flavor and a lot of diacetyl. Lingering english hop flavor in the finish.

M - Medium-thick body, moderately low carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Not good. This is kind of a strange scottish ale. It lacks in malt richness, just a one dimensional toasted quality. There is more hop character than one would expect for the style and the excessive buttery notes do not in any way redeem it. This might come across better if it was presented as a bitter or mild, but even then its not very good.

Update: This POS just won a GABF gold medal!?!? WTF!?

nickfl, Aug 19, 2009
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap 2/7/2011 at Track 84, in Warwick, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, vanilla, some fruit and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel, vanilla and a little bit of fruit. The malt character is hearty and the hops presence is mild but it creates a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, this is a decent beer worth drinking for a while.

TheManiacalOne, Feb 08, 2011
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.75/5  rDev +3%

RblWthACoz, Oct 21, 2012
Photo of Slatetank
3.75/5  rDev +3%

Slatetank, May 21, 2013
Photo of jlindros
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another one from a big trade with Noslenwerd.

A: Pours nice pillowy head of 1/2 a finger. It's a super clear amber tan color with slight reddish hue and tons of bubbles rising from the bottom of my SA pint glass just enough to hold a light head covering.

N: Lots of sweet malts fill out the nose. Some sweet sugar and molasses. Slight toasty malts. Quite a bit like a Scotch ale or barleywine.

T: Starts with more maltiness, but not as sweet as I thought it would be. Some crystal, toasty malts, and almost porter roast comes through. Almost a hint of smoke. Some sweet sugar and rich molasses, but not much sweetness.

M: Pretty thick, rich, and syrupy, good carbonation for the style (light).

F: Finishes still heavy and slightly sweet, thick and syrupy as it lines the mouth very slightly. Slight bitterness. A nice drink, but not a lot to it. Lighter than expected for the style, although it has a nice mouth feel. Should have had some more booze, a little more sweetness, more flavors overall I think.

jlindros, Jan 15, 2010
Photo of drabmuh
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer poured from a bottle without a born on date into a standard pint glass. Beer is red, really red, and slightly hazy. Head is thin and white, forms nicely but falls away quickly and is broken and diffuse. Does not leave lacing behind. The haziness may be due to yeast sediment, I did not notice.

Smells a bit yeasty. A lot like a red ale. There is almost a fruit like sweetness to the aroma but overall the aroma is rather weak. I'm not picking up much malt.

Beer is light in body and in flavor. Drinkability high, I will try to decipher the subtle of this beer. First, its not bad at all. Slightly bitter, slightly sweet. Bitterness lingers in the back of the mouth for a while. There again is some fruit like / sweet apple like character to the beer. Its interesting, but not my favorite.

drabmuh, Dec 27, 2009
Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev +9.9%

oline73, Jul 16, 2013
Photo of Rifugium
3.23/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

First had: on tap at Casey's, Newtown Square, PA

Poured a hazy amber with a small, white head. Aroma of malts and a bit nutty; reminiscent of an amber ale. Taste was pretty plain; sweet malts and sorta bland nuttiness, with some caramel notes coming through. Not quite as sweet or tasty or alcoholic as other Scotch ales I've had. Medium body, and moderately drinkable, but a bit lacking in the flavor department.

Rifugium, May 04, 2011
Photo of WesWes
3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a dry and semi-musty malt scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts. It has some breadlike character. The taste is good. It has a nice malty flavor that goes down easy and finishes dry and breadlike. It's rich in crystal and bisquit malts with a light peated feel. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking beer, but not the best Scottish style ale on the market.

WesWes, Apr 14, 2006
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Railbender Ale from Erie Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 663 ratings.