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Railbender Ale - Erie Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Railbender AleRailbender Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

657 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 657
Reviews: 313
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 14.29%
Wants: 20
Gots: 39 | 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
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Ratings: 657 | Reviews: 313 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Vancer
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer sent by hojaminbag via a nice trade, thanks guy!

Poured a nice oaken amber, on the clear side, with a small but sturdy ivory head. Sticky in the rim of the Corsendork tulip.

Winter spices pop up in the quaff, amongst the sweet malts. Reminds me of a winter warmer. Tastes like one too, along those lines with a Vienna kick - doughy malts mixed in with the malt backbone. Just a little kiss of smoky peat, and I mean it's subtle.

6.8% brew, this would pass for a 4% session beer - watch out for the sneaky alcohol. Tasty freakin' brew.

Vancer, Apr 19, 2008
Photo of OWSLEY069
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poursa a clean orange-ish/ amber color with an off white head. In the aroma, grapefruity hop and a small sweet maltiness. In the taste, sweet maltiness, and small hints of citrus. Quite smooth, and a medium bodied mouthfeel, and a small dry maltiness, and somewhat clean aftertaste. OK, clean, kind of a palate clensor, and hides the alcohol very well.

OWSLEY069, Mar 09, 2008
Photo of lackenhauser
3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Somewhat pale, hazy orange color. Rather soapy looking head. Not a lot of aroma. Pretty much just "there". Metallic and simply smells of beer. Strong malt flavor. Moderate hop bite to it. Decent enough mouthfeel though the finish is rather dry considering the sweet, malty flavor. A notch above average.

lackenhauser, Mar 07, 2008
Photo of Jerzdevil1116
4.43/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz Bottle purchased at State Line Liquors in Elkton, MD.

A- Amber colored body. Thin white head dissipated over a minute or two. Steady carbonation rising in the glass.

S- Smells dominated by malt. Sweet caramel and toffee, slightly bready. Just a hint of hops.

T- Starts off with a malty sweetness. Caramel and toffee. Finshes with a refreshing hop bitterness. Also has a small alcohol presence in the finish.

M- Smoothe and crisp. Light to meduim bodied. A little carbonation tingle.

D- A very well balanced beer. Goes down easy and has flavor. Maybe one that I should try a session with in the future. Wish it was more available near my home.

Jerzdevil1116, Mar 05, 2008
Photo of Zack4687
4.13/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer out of a 12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a nice dark, amber color with very little carbonation. About 2 fingers worth of foam that settles down to some small islands. The taste is of deep malt flavor with a perfect touch of caramel finishing with an easy touch of hops. I would definitely recommend trying this beer if it is available to you. After 4 or 5 cases I decided it was time to write a review. This is the tastiest 6.8 % beer that i have tried, and I would even drink it if it were only 5 %.

Zack4687, Feb 29, 2008
Photo of johnnyirishman
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Golden Amber color with a sandy 1" head that dissapated quick, decent lacing
S- sweet malty smells couldent decipher the other smells.
T,M- Malty with a taste of hopps at the finish which was clean and crisp.
D- A decent drinkable beer often enjoyed a couple at a time.

johnnyirishman, Feb 24, 2008
Photo of beveritt
3.13/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown nottle into a pint glass. The label depicts an old train, with something red around it. Not quite sure what. No visible freshness date, but they do list their ABV, a nice feature so often missing.

Appearance: Pours with 1/2 inch almost white foam that settles quickly leaving only the barest head. The beer itself is a medium amber, perfectly clear, and shows a low amount of activity. Some lacing as you drink.

Smell: Smells of slightly grassy hops, caramel, and malty sweetness.

Taste: Mild honey sweetness upfront, followed by a low hop bitterness and a decent carbonation bite. Finishes with a little more hop bitterness that lingers well.

Mouthfeel: A little high on the carbonation level, but not too much so. Body is average.

Drinkability: I had a few of these straight from the bottle (gasp) before finally getting around to reviewing it. An easy drinking flavorful beer that may not take home any prizes, but is still solid.

beveritt, Feb 16, 2008
Photo of csmiley
3.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear, copper color. Almost a hint of orange in the light. Got just a little more than on inch of head that was gone pretty quick. Lacing was average.

S - Malt smells pretty much make up the aroma profile. Caramel is strong with hints of butterscotch and earthy scents in the background.

T - Caramel is the first major flavor. That is followed by hints of smoke and earthy / wood flavors. There is a very small amount of hop on the end.

M - This one is on the light side with good carbonation.

D - Nothing really stands out with this beer except for the drinkability. Really does not feel like a 6.8% Scottish Ale, which in turn makes it go down really quick.

csmiley, Feb 15, 2008
Photo of SpencerT
3.33/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This ale pours a clear copper color with a three finger off white head.
The scent of malt and brown sugar is prevalent in this ale.
Slightly sweet at first with nice bitterness of the hops at the finish. Well balanced with a hint of alcohol flavor. Finishes smooth without much of a bite.
I'm not sure if this is a good example of a Scottish Ale but it isn't a bad Ale.

SpencerT, Feb 06, 2008
Photo of JamesS
3.23/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a nice light auburn/orange color, with a decent head that rapidly diminishes and a good bit of lacing. Malty, but weak scent, nice and crisp but not strong at all, with hints of bananas. Same for the taste, a nice bit of sweet maltiness, although no real peat or smoke flavor. It goes down fine, nothing great but nothing bad, either. A very average ale.

JamesS, Jan 22, 2008
Photo of tayner
2.95/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle with no dates.

poured a clear copper color with a very small and very white head, pretty typical looking scottish ale in the glass.

Smells of floral/peppery hops with only a slight background of sweetness.

Tastes just like it smells, floral/peppery hops with a slight malt background. I dont think it is bad overall, but not what i would expect a scottish ale to taste like. I was expecting more of a sweet malt, bready yeast and i got none of that. I think this would fit more in an IPA catgory, which would not be my favorite.

Thin, crisp, clean, and refreshing mouthfeel with finishing hops on the palate a la IPA.

Pretty easy to drink, but for me does not fit the profile of scottish ale at all, and therefore i was disappointed. if i wanted an IPA this one would be easy to session though.

tayner, Jan 22, 2008
Photo of bluejacket74
4.03/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle. Served in a Sam Adams BL glass, the beer pours an amber color with about an inch white head. Head retention and lacing are both good. Aroma is caramel malt, bread, and just an overall fruity aroma. Taste is similar to the aroma, it's malty and bready, but there's also some grassy hops and peat noticable too. Mouthfeel is nice, it's very smooth and has good carbonation. Drinkability is pretty good too, it goes down very easy and the 6.8% ABV isn't noticable at all. It seems like the beer isn't that strong, but it does kick in later. Overall I think this is a decent brew. I've seen Erie Brewing beers around here for a while and never picked one up until recently. I thought it was a pleasant surprise, I'll have to pick up more of their beers in the future.

bluejacket74, Jan 19, 2008
Photo of ffejherb
3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle into pint glass.

A - Clear amber/light copper colored body with reddish hues. Not much of a head at all. Average carbonation. Little to no lacing.

S - Lots of caramel malt sweetness and some fresh fruit reminiscent of raspberries. Some honey sweetness also present. Very faint tea-like herbal hops way in the background, but overpowered by the sweetness. Reminds me of iced tea or even apple juice.

T - Mix of bready malt, yeast and caramel sweetness. Very little hop bitterness present. Finishes up with a clean, bready malt taste.

M - Light to medium body with watery texture and moderately prickly mouthfeel. Finish is short and pretty clean, but slightly metallic.

D - Pretty non-abrasive and mellow taste. Not much really going on with this brew. Has a very old world ale kind of vibe. Can't really detect the 6.8% ABV. Pretty good offering, but not too complex.

ffejherb, Jan 04, 2008
Photo of ghilt
4.9/5  rDev +34.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of the BEST ales I've tasted in years! It was smooth, rich tasting with a lingering sweetness which made me want more. It is a perfect blend in my opinion. Although 6.8%, it has no bite! For me it went very well with a nice dinner meal or as a stand-alone ale. No true ale drinker will be disappointed with Railbender' Ale. I love it!

ghilt, Dec 29, 2007
Photo of yelterdow
2.38/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Thanks to Breeze for hooking me up with a sixer of this one that's not distributed here in North Jersey. Served at just over fridge temperature in a pint glass.

Appearance- Pours a caramel reddish amber into the glass, where a full two finger head is slowly building. There are steady streams of many tiny bubbles rising, with moderate and sporadic lacing. It's definitely a solid looking beer.

Smell- After sampling this beer five times previously, the first aromas I've been getting are caramel malts, but now I'm smelling just a wisp of smoky wood... and maybe something plummy. Not bad, I do get a sense of the alcohol in the nose though.

Taste- Here's the problem... the beer doesn't come together well, considering the potential complexity in the taste. While the initial malt character envelops the tongue, the alcohol heat and generally unpleasant hop bitterness is far too aggressive. It's heavy and hot thoughout the middle and the entire finish, which could be considered appropriate if this were an IPA.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Initially the texture is prickly and borderline overcarbonated... halfway through the tasting it mellows, but never becomes anything exciting. Since the taste and overall enjoyment of this beer defines the drinkability score, it doesn't fare well at all... I couldn't suggest this or promote it in any way.

yelterdow, Dec 20, 2007
Photo of Brian700
3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours an amber with good clarity. It is lacking a little bit as far as head goes. The little head there is is an off-white and settles to a small ring around the edge of my glass.

The aroma is bread-like with some caramel

Flavor- Nice maltiness, bread, caramel with nice crisp early addition hop presence leaving way for the malt to take over in the end.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium to moderate carbonation.

My first bottle of this had some leathery off-flavors but after a second sample I found this beer to be quite drinkable.

Brian700, Nov 30, 2007
Photo of Deuane
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Clear dark amber / copper with a thin off-white head.

S - Mostly malty with a hint of nuttiness. Some aroma of a dark fruit?

T - Lots of caramel a little smokey and some nuttiness. Nothing is overpowering or stands out...just better than average would like a little more.

M - Very smooth and creamy. The 6.8% does not make itself present. Very "round" maltiness

D - Very smooth and easy drinking. A pleasant beer....nothing to complain about but would like a bit more flavor. Not really what I call a "typical" scottish.

Deuane, Nov 29, 2007
Photo of PorterLover83
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into my favorite Great Lakes pint glass. Pours a lighter copper hue with a pretty thick looking head. Kinda malty at first with a little grassy hop taste. Almost seems to be a little "spicy" maybe the hops coming through? After letting it warm a little, a hint of caramel came through on the smell. Medium to heavy mouthfeel. Seems to be yeast? floating around in it. Fairly malty which is what I didn't expect from it. Very good flavor to me. I would recommend it. Surprisingly doesn't have the "kick" in the taste for a slighty higher ABV than most beers. A good offering from Erie Brewing in my opinion.

PorterLover83, Nov 27, 2007
Photo of Gavage
3.63/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a cloudy amber color. A surface foam is the only head that appeared with the pour. No lacing arrives during the session.

Smell: caramel and ripe fruit sweetness is strong and easily detectable.

Taste: big caramel candy sweetness, ripe red grapes, red apples, and a hint of alcohol. Very little if any bitterness here, as this leans towards a sweeter than expected beer.

Mouthfeel: smooth from start to finish. Brief aftertaste as sweetness sticks on the tongue. Medium bodied beer.

Drinkability: decent but not great. This beer came across a bit too sweet for me, but its worth a try.

Gavage, Nov 13, 2007
Photo of longdivision
4.15/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a six-pack solely based on a recommendation. What a surprise! A very interesting beer. Poured into a pint glass, it looked like a copper hefeweizen, very hazy with particulates. Smells kind of fruity. More so than it tasted. Had a hint of bubble-gum at times. It's a challenge to describe, never had a beer quite like this. Not too hoppy, but not really sweet either. Although, these characteristics were both present. You could easily have a few. I would recommend, but try before you buy.

longdivision, Nov 10, 2007
Photo of Imstillthegman
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this one up at the Foodery in Northern Liberties.

Pours a clear dark copper color with a thin off-white head. Just a couple of spots of lacing.

Smell is of earthy, grainy malts and a light nuttiness.

The flavor is of caramel malts, roasted nuts, and a little earthy peat. Nice surprising taste.

Mouthfeel is good. Average carbonation. Smooth and creamy. I would buy more of this if I see it again.

Imstillthegman, Sep 27, 2007
Photo of jwc215
3/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours hazed amber/bronze with a thin head that immediately becomes a thin, floating patch.

The smell is of caramel with earthy, slightly nutty, tones. Mild.

The taste is caramelish and biscuity. It has an earthy/slightly nutty background with a vague citric fruitiness and peppery spiciness. It is a bit boozy in the dry finish and slightly astringent with some carmelized maltiness rebounding in the aftertaste.

The body is a bit odd - some watery thinness but with a boozy kick and it almost reaches for medium at times.

I don't know how well this fits in with a Scottish Ale - In fact, I am very dubbious about this style. Seems like a strong...well...trying to be strong...old ale? I don't know. More English-type than Scottish-type. Who knows. Whatever. Regardless of style, this is mediocre anyway. It has a little bit of several things, but it doesn't all come together and there's not quite enough of anything (except maybe alcohol). Not "good" not "bad"...just there.

jwc215, Sep 12, 2007
Photo of sulldaddy
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I remember pounder returnable bottles of this brew in college showing up all the time at parties. Was surprised to see the beer in Rochester and bought a bottle to see how it tastes now.
Im sampling a cellar temp bottle poured into a pint glass.

The beer pours a clear copper hue with fizzy off white head of .5 cm foaming up and fading rapidly to a thin edge layer.
Aroma is grainy malt and a bit of brown sugar. No real hop presence. Overall mild on the nose though.
First sip reveals an average body with fine fizzy carbonation and smooth silky and slightly syrupy texture.
Flavor is as nose suggests with all malt caramel and toffee and some brown sugar, no real hop presence. I also dont get the 6.8% ABV. A well crafted beer that is easy to drink. Good stuff for those maltys out there.

sulldaddy, Sep 09, 2007
Photo of iceball585
4.1/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Reddish orange amber color, thin white head

S- Fairly fruity auroma of apples, oranges and lemons

T- Good malty taste w/ strong hints of oranges and lemons

M- Medium bodied, smooth, little carbonation

D- Easily drinkable

This beer has a great taste. Not too much to offer in smell or appearance. I have to say that the alcohol really creeps up on you in this beer.

iceball585, Aug 30, 2007
Photo of InandOutBeerGuys
2.9/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Honestly, not overly impressed here. Kinda seemed thin all around for a "BIG" altbier. Not nearly as malty as the appearance suggests & where the hops go? Was worth a try..had in a variety pack with the even more average Mad Anthonys Pale Ale, (what is it 31 or 51 IBU's?) and their pretty decent Presque Isle Pils, again not very floral or spicy but this is about Railbender...overall its just an average amber ale that I probably wont bother with again, and if someone from Erie reads this- you're on to some thing here just add some hops please.

InandOutBeerGuys, Aug 24, 2007
Railbender Ale from Erie Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 657 ratings.