1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Railbender Ale - Erie Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Railbender AleRailbender Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

679 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 679
Reviews: 313
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 14.56%
Wants: 18
Gots: 45 | 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)
View: Beers (16) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Railbender Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 679 | Reviews: 313 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of eljefe21
3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Light brown/copper color. This off white head. Thick and viscous. Decent slightly watery lacing.

S: Slightly off, sour smell. Maybe a bit of butterscotch without the sweetness. Not very aromatic.

T: The first thing that comes to mind is a slight butterscotch flavor that fades to a melon like sweetness. Some sourness too. Not extremely complex, but solid.

M: Carbonation wash on the outer edges of the tongue. Smooth and creamy center. Medium body.

D: Not a favorite of mine. Was interested to give it a try after seeing it won at the GABF. Not particularly sure of what to expect in the style, but either I am not a fan of the style or the beer. Despite my criticisms it's definitely drinkable and a decent brew.

Served: in a standard pint glass.

Review from notes taken on: 12/20/09.

Photo of Billolick
3.78/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle, w/o freshness/bottling date indication. Pours clear, dull coppery amber. The head is slight, light khaki and quickly goes bye bye. Leaves just the faintest of tiny bubble films and minor bits of lace. The nose is equally non impressive, with just a moderate wiff of malt picked up. Malty brew, smooth and easy enough to knock back. A bit of smoke, a bit of earthyness and a respectable, maple tinged malt carraige. Easy drinking malty ale. NOthing earthshattering going on here, but decent enough. Would work as a stronger sessioner. Good to keep some of this type of sweater brew around for the base of a meaty marinade

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.

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle.

A-Medium amber with marked clarity and an offwhite head that settles rapidly.

S-Some caramel malts and what smells like adjunct grains. Scottish ale? Not picking it up here.

T-Sure ain't no McFoochies, Old Chubb, etc. In fact, I'm not even going to review this in style, because I don't care what anyone says, this is not what I think of as a Scottish Ale. Malt biased, it is, but the grainy, adjunct like flavor leans far to the American Macro side. Caramel malts predominate and hops are nearly non-existant. 6.8% AVB? Can't be...impossible... While coming up way short in the flavor department, I guess this would be a good summer sessioner....no worse than a PBR, but that is about the best I can say. Don't get me wrong...this is really not a bad beer, but I guess I just wanted to get my Scotch Ale drink on and this was so far off mark that it really let me down.

M-Medium-thin with balanced carbonation.

D-I guess if one were so inclined you could pound quite a few of these back. Think keg parties, quarter toss, beer bong, beergammon. That is the role of this brew. Thanks guys, I'll pass....don't wait up, I'm going out to fill my tulip with something savory with a bit of flavor...

Photo of DrinkingAleToday
3.1/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a rich amber with a thin coarse head that quickly fades.

S: Some malty carmel and light toasted aroma, kind of bland in my opinion.

T: Again some carmel malt, slight bready flavor, ever so small hint of smoke, slight bitterness in the finish.

M: Thin bodied, slightly watery and overcarbonated for the style.

D: This beer has some nice flavor, but just not enough of it, flavor and mouth feel taste just a bit watered down. However this beer has a special place in my heart as it is one of the first beers that turned me onto craft brewing.

Photo of Amalak
3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had out of a 12 ounce bottle. Nice looking bottle for what its worth. Clear brown...perfectly clear. No real head or lace and no scnet.

While the look and smell weren't distinct, the taste was very nice. Has a graham cracker and bubble gum taste. Crisp, malty.

Photo of Beejay
3.43/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: A murky brown color, with a lot of red in it. Slight white foam at the top, but it doesn't stick around for long.

S: Maple syrup, burnt sugar, and caramel. It smells thick and malty, like liquid malt extract.

T: Malty at the front, but that gives way to something else.. Almost a syrupy taste, almost squash like... Maybe I am picking up something weird. Carmel in the finish.

M: Fairly thick, but the carbonation is a little high, and I think that evens things out al little.

D: Good, but I wouldn't do more than one in a night.. a little too much of the carmel/ malt extract taste for me.

Photo of Axic10
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark amber red with a slight head.

Smell: Malt and candied fruits.

Taste: Malt, buscuit and caramel flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied ale that is a little chewy, but not heavy at all.

Drinkability: I've been drinking this beer off and on when I was living near Erie and I definitely drink it when I see it on tap, as I think that it might just be the best beer made in the city of Erie. When I go home I try to get as much as I can, similar to when I lived in Ohio and would go back home and drink massive amounts of Yuengling.

Photo of CharlatanSin
3.78/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Bronx Ale House. Served in a pint glass.

A: Pours a copper penny color with a minimal tan head. Clear and fizzy-looking.

S: Toffee, and fresh baked sweets. Not much else.

T: Significantly better than the smell. A strong toffee backbone throughout. There's a nice toasted quality that I didn't pick up in the taste at all. The significant malt is balanced by a prickly earthy or pine hoppiness which never dominates but is present.

M/D: Smooth, with fairly high carbonation. Alcohol isn't discernible. I could session this beer. Nothing amazing, but a solid, drinkable ale.

Photo of bob3701
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a glass mug. I have to say up front I had no idea this was a Scotch ale, if that was what they were trying to present than I should grade it lower but I'm chossing to ignore the lable and just review it as I tasted it. Great clear copper color with a small head that rapidly disapates and not much lacing. Malty aroma. Sweet caramel taste to this one. I thought it was well balanced and I loved drinking it. In fact I downed 3 of them rather quickly.

Photo of Pecorasc
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz capped bottle into an imperial pint. Bad ass looking train on the front, but no information offered about the beer at all, not even style.

Vigorous pour into glass created very little, quickly dissipating head. However, this beer is crystal clear and very nice looking. A polished golden/reddish amber. Looks a little thin in the glass, when swirled the beer barely sticks to the glass.

Aroma cdominated by lots of buttery diacetyl. A little deeper I found some spicy hops and carmel malts. Nothing too impressive, just reminds of a stick of butter.

Big improvement from aroma. The diacetyl plays a much more subdued role here. Starts out fruity, followed by some spicy hops bitterness and finished with a combination of that butteriness and a slight alcohol burn.

The amount of carbonation in this beer was quite a suprize. Its bursts out the gate and confuses the palate until it dies down and allowsthe fruitiness to come through. I wonder what this would taste like with less carbonation?

The heat in the finish makes this drink like a 6.8% beer, although there are meany wee heavies that have better drinkability than this scottish ale.

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.

Photo of BeerMark
3.2/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Railbender Ale from Erie Brewing Co pours dark copper with an off white head. Got mine from an Erie sampler pack. The flavor is of malts and a little smokiness thrown in for good measure. Nothing seems to stand out to me. Could use some beefing up. While this beer is drinkable, i probably won't seek this one out again.

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.93/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Erie's Railbender Ale, a beer that I have bought cases of in the past.

Pours a rich copper in color, from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Malty aroma with some fruits lurking.

Flavor follows the nose, with an assertive maltyness, followed by booze soaked fruit but sweeter and less alcohol tasting. Caramel and light roasted flavors. Bready malts and low hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied.

Drinkability rates high, a beer with great flavors and easy to drink more than a fair share. Dangerous with the ABV but this is a very good beer.

Photo of eandolina
2.17/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

The appearance was good; color and clarity were fair. Head retention was okay as well; but it was all down hill from there.
There was little-to- no aroma; and flavor was very poor.
Unfortunately, I bought a whole case--took a while to get rid of it.
A very disappointing beer!
Pony up the extra dough and buy a good beer.

Photo of josefnewsong
4.15/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Discovered this ale last year and I'm glad I did...

A - pours a coppery red color with 1/2 inch head and a bit of lacing
S - nothing too overt here, just some bready malts and hints of flora
T - taste is wonderfully floral with hints of sweetness and nice chewy malt
M - smooth malts balanced by a nice carbonated bite, sticky in the finish
D - this is very drinkable, not too alcoholic and although the flavors are robust they aren't overbearing. 2 or 3 would be a piece of cake

This is a great ale for sessions, sitting around a campfire comes to mind.

Photo of deruiz10
3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap poured into pint glass.

A - One-finger head fades quickly leaving a light layer and substantial lacing. Copper-color pour leans more towards the orangish red side, quite effervescent.

S - Not particularly complex, but very interesting. Mildly sweet and sour, hints of apple cider and buttered toast.

T - Sweet toasty malts, butterscotch cookies and biscuits. Extremely unique, unlike anything I've tried before.

M - A little chewy, light carbonation which keeps it from feeling too heavy or sticky. Ultimately works.

D - A very warm and inviting beer, reminds me of winter. A real hybrid between long-term sipping and refreshment drinking. Maybe it's the fact that I drank it in an Irish pub, but it felt very English to me.

Photo of haddon
3.28/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- the color is dark light amber in color with not much of a head. light amount of carbonation

S- brown sugar, molasses & caramel. the malts actually become more pronounced as the beer warms

T- not much on the palate. little bit of caramel with a floral note that ends on a hoppy bitterness. kind of bland. not nearly as flavorful as other Scottish Ales I have tasted

M- light to medium body. a little thick on the tongue with not much carbonation.

D- not much flavor and quite honestly, a little boring. not sure I would drink again.

Photo of PretzelsNBeer
4.08/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an american pint glass.

Appearance: copper colored brew with a modest head
Smell: malty and sweet; very unassuming; typical to style
Taste: great balance; nice malty sweet taste up front with a lingering malt finish. The malt is there but not over dominant, just the right balance. Very tasty.
Mouthfeel: medium bodied and a nice level of carbonation which lends to it's drinkability
Drinkability: the more I drink the more I like it. This beer is so well balanced and as the beer hits it's optimal drinking temperature where all the depth of the malts come out. great stuff

Photo of bonkers
3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a standard pint glass. The beer has a deep golden hue with a moderate white head, decent lacing. The aroma is malty, bready. The flavor is weak, bready, and ahint of smoke, IMO it could have used more of each. The beer is light to medium bodied, average to light carbonation. I think this beer needs to be bigger to hit the style better.

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

Appearance: slightly hazy,orangeish light brown in color. thin light brown tinted head that disaptes guickly leaving a thin lace.
Aroma: strong complex malt aroma. slight roasted notes followed by a strong sweet caramel aroma. no hop aromas are present.

Flavor: sweet caramel malt followed by a medium to strong roasted flavor. I understand that scotish ales have roasted notes but I think it is overdone just enough to mention. Its not bad but I would have dropped the percentage a little bit. The hop bitterness is very mild & done just right to balance the sweetness of the complex malt profile.

Mouthfeel: Full in body, rich in malt, light to medium carbonation (good to style), water is fairly soft.

Overall: this is an average scotish ale. Full body, rich malt profile, proper use of hops, low/medium carbonation, soft water. The only minor complaint I have is that the roasted notes are overdone just a little bit. Is this worth buying? Absolutely. I've had better & I've had much worse.

Photo of wac9
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

its so hard to find scottish ale in my part of pa. what a great beer found a six pack in wegman wish i had a case of this beer. the beer has dark reddish color .perfect scottish ale color. the frist taste takes your breath away its that good. a good scottish ale beer made in pa. hope to have more of this

Photo of GoalieRon33
3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a- reddish brown tinted, with an overall see clear, filtered opaquness

s- toffee, with some heavy maltiness. Woody, almost smoky even

t- heavy maltiness, a bit smoky/woody flavor. slightly hoppy finish

m- medium body. Not too heavy, but still enough to let you know that you are not drinking a light beer

d- wonderful beer that is easy to drink. Heavy taste that would be wonderful for chilly days and nights

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Unibroue Tulip. 6.8% ABV, no date.

Thanks to NeroFiddled for the cool-labeled brewski!

A - The appearance would be similar to a melted caramel block that's clear. Redish-orange. Little head popped up and fell back down quickly to a thin right. No lacing on the glass.

S - The great aroma starts with a toffee burst that's quickly overtaken by a caramel sweetness. Toasty caramel malts are everywhere on this and there is a light hoppy finish that doesn't interfere with the malty balance that's going on.

T - Forget the quick toffee burst in the nose, it's not in the flavor. But what is, is the caramel toasted malts galore with a stronger hop presence on the finish to balance the maltiness out. The hoppiness is floral and a bit fruity (could also be from the malts). Not as good as it was foretold by the aroma.

M - Medium in body, it's rich with malts and very dry on the finish from hops. Also, it has a mild carbonation bite to it making it feel lighter than it really is.

D - The difference between the aroma and flavor is interesting. It's a good Scottish ale that I'll keep sipping away at but it's not incredibly drinkable by any means. The alcohol isn't noticeable though so a few may sneak up on you just a bit.

Photo of philbe311
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

First off, congrats to Erie on the GABF medal for Railbender... As a result, I'm slightly more excited in popping this one open...

A - Half a finger of loud fizzy pale khaki colored head comprised of varying sized bubbles fades away in rapid fashion leaving only a modest milky way like lacing in the center of the glass... Loads of small moderate paced carbonation bubbles swirl throughout... The color is not as dark as expected and is a light caramel color with a strong orange hue...

S - Gooey caramel syrup... Toffee... Ripe dark fruit... Raisins... Brown sugar... Enticing, but overall rather subdued...

T - Bready malts... Golden raisins... Diacytel... Slightly medicinal finish... The flavor is good, but similar to the nose, again rather subdued...

M - Aggressive biting carbonation hits the tongue hard... On the thinner side of medium bodied... Heavy but watery at the same time...

D - A very sessionable scottish ale... Lacks the full flavor and rich mouthfeel associated with better Scoth and Scottish Ales, but there is something charming and memorable about this brew...

Railbender Ale from Erie Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 679 ratings.