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Railbender Ale - Erie Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Railbender AleRailbender Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

685 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 685
Reviews: 315
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 14.56%
Wants: 19
Gots: 58 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-17-2001

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (16) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 685 | Reviews: 315 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.2/5  rDev +15.4%
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.

Photo of yesyouam
2.09/5  rDev -42.6%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Erie Railbender Ale is very clear and brown with a white head that quickly vanishes. It has an odd aroma, with notes of fusel, spoiled fruit, resin and cardboard. It's medium-full bodied and pretty smooth with a slightly ragged finish. It tastes better than it smells, but it's a very boozy flavor and fusel is present. There is a slight sweetness, like sorghum, with notes of wood resin and chocolate. There is an herbal bitterness at the finish. This stuff burns all the way down.

Photo of Cyberkedi
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Aroma is crisp, more fruity than malty, and just a bit sweet. It pours a nice dark orange amber with a rather persistent off-white head. Flavor is malty and somewhat spicy, mainly cinnamon, with a fruity hint. Texture is quite fizzy and tingly, lively and sassy.

Photo of wampahoofus
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer pours dark reddish-brown with some white frothy head.

Aroma of lightly of vanilla and toffee.

This beer has a nice round malty flavor. A perfect vacation from the hop-crazed beer world. The flavor is rich and smooth.

This is a nice drinkable ale and a great deal for the price. It is not a top notch beer but it is excellent for the price. I will buy it again.

Photo of BigIrishman
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours ruby red with small soapy head and leaves little head.

Smell: Not much aroma on here, what's there is a grainy sweet malt with hints of a peaty grassy backbone. As it warms it brings out a bit of a smokey mapley undertone.

Taste: A big malty burst of flavor, not expectef with such a small nose. There's some caramel and vanilla coming through along with a warming alcohol burst. Thee flavor is fairly classic scotish ale, with a bit less complexity.

Mouthfeel: Slimy and heavy with little pop from carbonation.

Drinkability: The sweetness wears on you over time, but overall this brew is pretty decent.

Photo of Shaw
3.72/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I think Erie Brewing Co. is a new arrival in Florida: I've never seen there beers down here before.

Pours a deep, deep red in color without much of a head.

The very nice aroma is of caramel, toffee, even maple syrup. It's complex and good.

The caramelized malt aroma carries over to the taste. Good flavors that remind me of pancakes and waffles without the syrup. Malty goodness.

Substantial body.

Overall a good and malty beer.

Photo of DrDemento456
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This was recommended to me by a co-worker telling me it was a damn fine brew back in the day.
A - Semi dark amber with a ton of head (almost overflowing) in the glass that faded slowly.
S - Mostly caramel and bread malt with very little hop whiff in the nose. Kind of boring...
T - Actually sweeter than expected for around 7 percent! Caramel malts dominate followed by slight bready background that finishes very wet.
M - Actually very medium bodied and drinkable.
D - Well I could easily see finishing a sixer despite of the ABV but the boring on dimensional sweetness would get tiresome. If I see this in a variety case it would not "derail" me from buying it!

Photo of kshankar
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber/orange. Aggressive pour yields a decent tan foam, okay retention.

Aroma is very sweet, malty and caramel-y.

Taste is very sweet, with the caramel malts providing most of the flavor profile. Not much else. Somewhat one-dimensional

Mouthfeel is medium, drinkability is okay. Just a bit boring, but a good offering, nonetheless.

Photo of BeerCon5
3.03/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours an amber color with about one finger of fluffy slightly off white head that really didn't last long.

The scent was of mostly roasted malts, not much else was noticeable.

The taste was of sweet caramel malts, some light hops, some yeast and a bit of spice, also a bit watery.

Light bodied, very crisp and a bit too thin, moderate carbonation.

This was an ok beer, very easy to drink but there wasn't as much flavor as I would have expected. I might give it another shot if there is nothing else interesting around but otherwise not something I will look for.

Photo of cooncat
3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Live review of a beer I've been drinking for more than a dozen years. Can't believe I haven't reviewed it before this. This bottle was a free sample given out at the end of this year's BrewErie Micro Brew fest, which Erie Brewing attended. Nice of them to pass out a free bottle, something they started doing last year.

Poured into my SA glass out of the fridge, I get about a half inch of light parchment colored head, which disipates quickly enough to a very thin cap. Some lacing develops as we drink and on the swirl.

The nose is caramel malty, kind of like a bock or doppelbock. No noticeable hop presence, which I guess is okay if this is a Scottish ale (which at this point I'm not at all certain about).

Taste is malty too, with just a hint of grassy/pine hops way in the background. I don't know what the IBUs are of this ale, but I'd have to guess around 20 at best. Nothing really remarkable in the flavor; nothing objectionable either. We'll just say caramel malt dominates and leave it at that. Carbonation is above 2 volumes, and keeps the mouthfeel at a pleasant medium. A slight note of fusel alcohol as the beer is warming. Not really objectionable, but detectable (warming in the belly too). I'll have to give a better than average mark to drinkability, as I can remember buying this by the case since about '96. I remember back then that I thought the 6.8% abv was incredibly high. I told my friend you could see vapors coming off the top of the glass. Well, that was then, prior to having beers over 20% abv. Even at 6.8%, I can remember doing 3 or 4 bottles in a session, so, yeah, the drinkability is decent.

PA. has some incredible breweries that are top notch (Victory, Weyerbacher, Stoudts, Voodoo and Troegs come to mind). Unfortunately, Erie Brewing still hasn't cracked that level in their offerings. They are what I refer to as a "2nd tier" brewery, making some real decent and drinkable beers. Will Railbender "knock your socks off?" No, but you'll probably find it decent enough. If you have the chance, its worth a try .. really.

Na Zdravje!

Photo of CHickman
3.2/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours brown in color with a small white head, with little to no lacing.

Smells or sweet roasted malts and faint caramel.

Tastes sweet and malty, with a smoky flavor, lemon, faint hops, caramel, coffee or chocolate malt hints, brown sugar and bitter grains. The overall taste is malty with a dry grainy, earthy finish.

The mouthfeel is light, crisp, on the smooth side, with burnt wood notes and very high/light carbonation.

Overall a decent beer, but not one that I would seek out. It bordered on being boring.

Photo of Turbansurfer
2.43/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I really saddens me to dump on the flagship beer of my hometown brewery; but alas it is not near one of my favorites.

A very strong ale.
Dark red to brown in color.
there is almost never a head on this brew- which is always disappointing.
The malts totally over power both the beginning and finish of this beer.
Historically batches have not been overly consistent - but there is evidence that that has improved over the past few years.
The taste is not complex- some bitters but overall is just kinda blaaaa
No evidence of hops in my estimation as the beer is soooo malty.

the positives are it is a nice color, it is not very expensive, and it will quickly do the trick if catching a buzz is your goal.

Photo of Stunner97
4.12/5  rDev +13.2%
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

Photo of wyattshotmaker
3.77/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

nice amber hue,not much lacing or head retention.sweet caramel,slight floral hop aroma,somewhat nutty. taste is of caramel covered fruit,slight toasted biscuit flavor,bit of bitterness near the finish,has a lingering delicate floral/herbal hop flavor.a little bit less than medium bodied,overall pretty good.

Photo of SilentSabre
2.75/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pretty average looking Scottish Ale, chestnut brownish orange coloured body and little head which faded into almost literally no head. Smell is very faint, but what *is* there is sweet malts and a little bit of fruit deep down. Taste is pretty uneventful save for the usual sweet-ish malts you'd expect to see in this style. Finishes up with a pleasant bitterness; not too overdone with the hops. Mouthfeel doesn't exactly fit the style and at only 6,8%, there's more detectable booze than there should be. Not a terrible beer, but I don't think this is for me.

Photo of armock
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured a copper color with a white head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is of sweet caramel malt mostly

T - Follows the nose of sweet caramel malt very good

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

D - Scottish ales are generally a style that I don't care for too much but I really enjoyed this beer and followed it up with a second one worth trying sometime if you can get it

Photo of u2carew
3.35/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz long neck. Consumed 2/10/10
A) Pours with a finger thick head. Lacing is thin and semi-sticky. Body slightly hazy. Visible upward carbonation. Amber in color.
S) Nutty. Caramel. Raisin. Dates.
T) Mellow caramel maltiness followed by a dry graininess. Then moves to a slightly bitter hop bite and finishes with diminished taste. Slight hop bite lingering in the aftertaste.
M) Fizzy. Medium body.
D) An alright brew. Not a favorite.

Photo of garuda
3.67/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber/ brown with a one-finger thick head with good retention and some lacing. The aroma has nice, clean, sweet caramelly malts. Some earthy hops come out in the end. Taste seems right on for the style, loaded with big caramelly, bready malts. There's some hops in the finish/aftertaste, and not enough of them to really balance the malts. Medium bodied, medium carbonation, kind of sticky and coats the mouth on the finish. Drinkability - the smoothness would allow me to drink a few of these, but I would prefer some more hops to round out the taste.

Photo of mwa423
3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a reasonably clear reddish brown with a finger and half of head that quickly died to nothing, with no lacing.

S - Malty sweet backbone with only a trace of hops.

T - Great sweet malty flavor, dead on for style, slightly bready and yeasty.

M/D - Mouthfeel is rich but not too thick. Very drinkable scottish ale, will have to remember this for St. Patrick's this year.

Photo of bigbluebeerguy
3.33/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance was amber with a slight orange cast, 1/2 inch off-white head that dissipated quickly, with mild lacing.

Smell was nothing special. Earthy malts with a mildly fruity undertone.

Taste is a little better than the nose. A little grainy with a certain breadiness to it, still getting a slightly dark fruit undertone that is quickly overpowered by a mild hop bitterness that lingers in the mouth.

Medium bodied, good carbonation, coats the mouth.

A drinkable beer, especially considering the reasonable price. Wouldn't go out of my way for it, but wouldn't turn one down if offered.

Photo of EPseja
3.62/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 12oz bottle in am SABL glass at between fridge and cellar temperature.

A - Orangey copper with a modest 1/2-inch off-white head without much staying power. Lacing is sporadic at best.

S - Toasted, sweet maltiness with some caramel and maraschino cherry undertones.

T - Malty sweetness with a hint of alcohol and dark fruits -- big up front, diminishing in the middle and taking on a touch of tartness, and then coming back in the finish with pronounced breadiness. Not very dry in the finish, and practically devoid of any real hop flavor.

M - Slight viscosity in the drink, with pleasant, tingly carbonation and swelling in the mouth. Swallow is thick and rich.

D - A very nice Scottish Ale, although a bit one-dimensional. Still, it's relatively inexpensive for the style, which makes it a good score.

Photo of cjgator3
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle

A- Poured into a pint glass. Pours a clear brownish copper color with an off-white head.

S- The sweet malty aroma features caramel and toffee with some nutty notes as well.

T- The taste like the aroma is dominated by the sweet caramel malts. It is also a bit nutty and and slightly biscuity with a touch of hops in the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, not a bad brew. Worth a try.

Photo of allergictomacros
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear copper with a tan head.

S - Sweet malty caramel and hint of citric hop. Light fruit and tangerine.

T - Fruity and caramelly - very malty. Light lemon hop and lingering bitter finish.

M - Slightly chewy. Moderately effervescent. Solid heft.

D - Tasty but a bit on the heavy side for me.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.23/5  rDev -11.3%
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.

Photo of WeezyBoPeep
3.08/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

A: The slightest bit cloudy amber with a small, fast-fading head which was completely gone after a few sips; then it looked like I was drinking an iced tea.

S: Malty caramel and light smoke with a light funky smell underneath. Notes of white grape juice and dark fruit are detectable.

T: Earthy, biscuity malts with light burnt sugar; slightly bitter finish with a funky yeasty presence.

D: Not a bad brew but for that non-existent head. That bugged me.

Value: Pricey. I paid over 2 bucks for a single.

Railbender Ale from Erie Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 685 ratings.