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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.
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Ratings: 685 | Reviews: 315 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bamadog
4.15/5  rDev +14%
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.

Photo of thain709
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - A copper body...a light brown head that disappears very quickly...leaves no lacing

S - Sweet malts...some caramel

T - Right with the nose...very malty with a hint of caramel...and a slight hop finish that wasn't bad

M - Medium body...went down smoothly

D - This wasn't a bad pick up for a mix-a-six...but I would only get it every now and then...good beer though!

Photo of beerthulhu
3.15/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured a dark, amber with a thin creamy off white head. Visible carbonation was moderately strong.

S: sweet with caramelized sugars and toffee.

T: The initial flavor starts out with a sweet caramelized malting with a dry floral hopping. There was a light breadiness with some dried fruitiness of apples and pears.

M: The body was a little thin with an ok carbonation factor while finishing dry. ABV was fairly well hidden.

D: ok drinkability. Good for a few, don't know if I would invest in a six pack.

Photo of CortexBomb
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Light brown pour with little head to speak of. Nose is almost pure malts, but not very big.

The flavour on this is very smooth and casual, almost purely sweet caramel malts and a bit of a nutty edge and a decently long finish. Reminds me in some ways of a less chewy doppelbock

Overall, this is an interesting and tasty take on the Scottish ale style. I would label this a good cross-over beer, and it would certainly qualify for a solid session beer if the ABV wasn't a skosh high. Very easy drinking in any case, and a must try for people who like beers that centre on hops rather than malts for an occasional change of pace.

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

Pours a dark brown amber color with a thin tan head that fades fast. Smells like a sweet brown ale with hints of spiced hops. Tastes like a nutty brown ale with a mild hop finish. No bad bite, goes down very smooth. Sweet flavors give a good mouthfeel. No alcohol taste either.. I'll recommend it.

Photo of DaveFL1976
3.84/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap @ Coasters Pub, Melbourne FL

It pours a deep copper with a thick rich khaki-colored head. Starts off well enough.
The smell isn't much to write about. Not overpowering at all but it does contain a nice malty sweetness. There's also a hint of butteryness in the nose. Hops aren't noticable.

Tastes like a Scottish ale, alright. Nice creamy mouthfeel, a carmel roastyness and a nice balance at the end of the swallow between the sweetness of the malts and the dryness created by the 6.8% ABV. It hids its alcohol remarkably well, actually.

A really tasty beer. Quite drinkable. It could be easily sessionable, but would be a nice comfort beer in cool weather.

Photo of Lepley
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours deep reddish brown with about one finger of tan head that quickly fizzes out with little to no lacing.
S: Sweet, light, fruity, peach, malty. It has a good strong scent that I didn't even have to lean for.
T: Malty and sweet, grainy, carmel. Slight lingering hoppiness in the aftertaste.
M: Smooth, little carbonation.
D: This is the kind of beer you could drink all night. It has a rich flavor but isn't heavy that it fills you up.

Photo of Wasatch
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy off-white head, not much sticky lacing at all. The nose is malty, with some slight spice, caramel. The taste is slightly sweet, malty, caramel, and some spice thrown in. Medium body. Drinkable, a tasty brew.

Photo of zeff80
3.53/5  rDev -3%
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.

Photo of UltraZelda64
2.7/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

From the company's website:
"Erie Brewing Company flagship beer features a deep malt flavor, caramel sweetness lingering in a soft hop flavor."

That pretty much nails this beer. On to my thoughts...

Appearance: First off, this beer's got some pretty cool artwork featuring an old train on the bottle (not to mention, the name is pretty cool...). A somewhat dark, murky, orange liquid poured into the glass. Has a beige-colored head that doesn't last too long. However, with the relatively high alcohol percentage, I can't really fault the beer too much for having a quickly decaying head. Carbonation seems weak; tiny bubbles, and very few of them at that; maybe more of it would have improved head retention a bit. This one just looked so... dead. Can't say I'm all that impressed so far.

Smell: Malty, biscuity sweetness. Maybe a little bit of caramel. Again, not all that impressive, but certainly not offensive.

Taste: The characteristics of the smell also appear in the taste, basically mirroring it. Very strong biscuit/malty flavor, a touch of caramel, light hops. Alcohol seems present, but just barely. It does leave an awkward aftertaste, or at least did; now, with only a small amount left in my glass, the aftertaste seems to have muted. Which is good, because I didn't really care for it.

Mouthfeel: I would say it feels medium bodied. Certainly thicker than water. Not too bad.

Drinkability: This stuff is not exactly one of the greatest beers I've tried, but at the same time it's quite easy to drink. It has a moderately high ABV, 6.8%, yet it hides it quite well. I can imagine drinking *too* much of this stuff for this reason. I'm not sure I'll actively seek this stuff out, though. While this is not a bad beer, I've just had far too many that, in my opinion, surpass this one.

Meanwhile... if you want a decent beer with a good kick to it, definitely give this one a try. Honestly, this beer's greatest strength seems to be its well-hidden alcohol strength.

Photo of kinger
3.12/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I'm a bit confused by this brew. The website calls it an old ale, I don't sense much Scottish quality about it and I'm leaning towards a mild American Pale Ale or an English Pale Ale. Either way there is a nice hoppy aroma mildly bitter. Golden copper color with a small head and lots of lacing. Mouthfeel is fine. Nice calm taste. Abundant maltiness with a sharp bitter hop quality. The aftertaste is kind of funky. Overall not bad but it didn't raise my eyebrow.

Photo of dedrinker
3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Clear amber color with a thin white-ish head. I smell some juicy caramel malt stuff and a little UK style ale fruity business. Tatses like it's going in the same direction except I detect a slightly unpleasant alcohol presence. Smooth over-medium body with a little bittering hop finish that does not go well with the aforementioned alcohol notes. I wouldn't come this away again, but it is not particularly bad either.

Photo of cswhitehorse
2.73/5  rDev -25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

The Railbender poured a reddish brown color with a 1-2 finger foam head and some sea foam lacing.

The smell was comprised of biscuity malt and possibly some chocolate malt. The taste was real chocolately and didn't have much of a hop profile. It was pretty thin in the mouth and left a real odd after taste that I couldn't get over. All and all I won't buy this one again.

Photo of Bockrules
3.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass

A - Pours a light copper-brown with nearly perfect clarity. Looks like root-beer.Two-finger head that quickly turns to a thin ring and breaks apart half way down the glass. Leaves Decent lacing.

S - Moderatare malty-caramel smell. Very sweet.

T - Smooth and malty upfront. The body is caramel cream with a good blend of hops and malt. Finnish is caramely with a touch of bitterness. Leaves a sugary aftertaste. Was delicous with the pretzels I was eating, but rather one-dimensional without the salt in my mouth...

M - Medium-thin with moderate carbonation. Could be thicker.

D - This beer is quite sweet and non beer-enthusiasts will find it accessable. It was the perfect yang to my salty pretzels, but by itself this is simpily an average beer with a carmel taste and I found myself liking it less and less as I went through the bottle. My big brother bought this as a gift. The price on this stuff is outrageous at $9.00 a six- I don't plan on ever purchasing this beer. Still hides it's high alcohol content wonderfully...

Photo of RedBaron
3.37/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the third beer I've tried from this brewery. All three beers were acquired on trips to northeast Indiana.

Appearance: Nice sunset orange; translucent; lightly carbonated.
Smell: A cotton-candy like smell. WTF? Nothing close to a peat, smoke or even that alcoholic punch you'd expect from a "Scottish ale". Hmmm.
Taste: Redemption! Quite a complex beer with biscuit and toasted malts playing along side of some nice understated fruity (grapefruit) notes. Finishes a bit fruity sweet (a good trait), and with a pleasant alcohol kick.
Mouthfeel: Malt-accented brew for sure. Leaves a bit of a sticky-ness to the mouth, but worth the effort.
Drinkability: Not the best Scottish-style ale I've ever had, but not too bad either. Again, this brewery seems to find the path of least resistance and goes for it. I wish it had a far better aroma, and I wish the mouthfeel was a bit more flushed out. Still, a decent beer.

Photo of GoodKnight1220
4.3/5  rDev +18.1%
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.

Photo of JDV
2.88/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours copper and clear. Smell is malty and toasty with light grassy balancing hops and a dash of sour milk, somehow... Taste is mildly malty and dryish toasty tartness. Fairly hopped for bitterness without much hop flavor, though. Medium to light bodied with a high amount of carbonation. Crisp. Average.

Photo of hustlesworth
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- pours a hazy burnt amber/rusty/mahogany color with a relatively creamy beige head with bubbles similar to shaken milk. some wispy lace sticks around in quite interesting patterns as the foam settles to a thick ring and crescent moon.

S- caramel malt and a fruity berry tartness and robust musky bowels-of-the-earth type smell akin to old stone, old wood, and dry basement. smells more like an old ale than a scottish and i understand there's been some speculation as to what particular style this beer actually fits into. the website used to call it an old ale but it's been changed within the last few months to a scottish ale with a handy little BA link right below. some milk chocolate aromas also come out along with a creamy tomato soup, toasted nuts & grains, and earthy british hops.

T- slightly subdued and sufficiently bitter, i wouldn't really know how to classify this one, perhaps it's a hybrid. heh. lake water first followed by milk chocolate and burnt caramel with husky grainy cereal flavors mingling throughout. the earthy herbal bitterness of english hops and another unknown cone (perhaps a willamette or something german) intensifies near the end as the aroma and hop flavor seem to coincide while the malt backs off. dry, grainy, and slightly medicinal in the finish, leaves a feeling of some bittersweet cocoa on the cheeks.

MF- interesting feel to this one, sort of an anomaly, it feels lighter than it looks. even with medium low carbonation, the water:malt ratio has more difference than i would have suspected at first glance... most of the flavor seems to come from the hops, which is a-ok with me, but for an ale of whatever 3 different styles it may be, i'd appreciate some more heft and viscosity.

D- lighter body does make for a drinkable drink, another smash for my non-ale drinking family, but i've had some pretty good examples of the style lately and after one of these, i'd opt for something more substantial.

Photo of LumpyGuitar
3.61/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up on a whim.

Pours a coppery amber, almost 2 fingers of light tan head and quite a bit of visible effervescence. Head slimmed down a bit but lasted the drink life.

Smells like malt and grain, nothing special.

Taste is on par with the style, very malty with a hint of smoke and copper, alcohol is detectable but doesn't detract from the fun. Starts a bit sweet and finishes a tad bitter, not bad.

Mouthfeel is pretty bubbly and refreshing. Weight is middle of the road.

Drinkability is good. This beer was/is worth a shot, especially for the price. Nothing to write home about, but if your in the right situation this is perfect. Would make an excellent session beer.

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

Bottle courtesy of EGledhill, thanks again!

Beer pours a nice clear dark amber color with a thin white head.

Aromas are cereal grain like, bready, and kind of brown sugary sweet.

Taste is of sweet breads, malty, kind of tea like, with a spicy hop kick on the finish. Not a lot of strong flavors, but the flavors are nice, and meld well together in a subtle sort of way.

Mouthfeel is ok. Feels a touch thin upon first sip, but the finish is long and full.

Drinkability is not bad. Not an real powerhouse of flavors, but it's a nice subtle sipper. Definitely an above average beer that is worth a try, and actually pretty easy to drink.

Photo of demitriustown
3.42/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle: Pours a clear amber/golden color with a huge off white head that lingers around for a while. Aroma is Malty, caramel, and a bit of smoke. Taste is malts, caramel, yeast, bready, and a decent brew. Overall, I think it good not one of the top tier beer that I've ever had but good all around.

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

Medium copper body with golden edges. Solid finger of dense beige head. Decent lacing. Bread pudding malty-ness on the nose. Some fruit (pear, candied apple), butterscotch, and faint vinous notes. Doughy sweetbread malt flavors up front. Light toasted edge. Sugary fruits and caramel malt fill up the palate. Hint of banana and brandy before some light herbal bitterness in the finish. Lingering sweetbread. Medium body, with a soft, lightly-carbonated feel. Not bad, but a little light for an old ale.

Photo of animal69
3.92/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a med. copper color with a 1" yellowish-white head which dissipates quickly leaving a moderate lacing in my snifter ; a moderate smell, steely grain mostly, w/ a buttery/toffee/raison note to it ; a rich malty flavor w/ a nutty caramel/date undertone throughout, some woody hops and a touch of metal present as well; a med. bodied beer with a moderate co2 level, almost a bit flat feeling tho ; a very tasty brew, does not drink like a 6.8% ABV brew at all...

Photo of Traquairlover
3.43/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12-oz bottle poured into a snifter on first tasting/tulip on second. Thanks to adamharbaugh for the first bottle. This is a combined review from 5-18-08 and 11-15-08. I was told this was supposed to be an Old Ale and I originally reviewed it on that basis. Comparing it against a 60 or 70 shilling Scottish Ale expectation, it fared much better.

A = Very clear relatively light orange, one finger bone white head that dissipated medium quickly (not too fast but not long retention either) leaving light bubbles/lace on surface.

S = Some malt, maple syrup smells together with light hops notes, some buttered popcorn and light cocoa scents blend into the syrupy smells. Good balance

T = Light syrup tastes, with a balancing bitterness appearing at mid-palate. Cream soda tastes at mid-palate but those give way to some more bitterness in the finish. Not overly complex.

M = Light-medium bodied, fair mouthcoating, little too heavy carbonation but gives good foam feeling when swished without going overboard.

D = Pretty easy drinking beer.

Photo of shbobdb
4.03/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

This beer is dangerous. It has a nice cereal character that I really like, but the overall impression is just a nice drinkable beer. The beer has a slight tutti-frutti to the nose, but that doesn't translate to the taste, where the raw grains take over.

This beer is like biting into a nice piece of bread.

I dig it. I could drink this beer by the sixer, which at 7% alcohol is a feat.

Well brewed and delicious.

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