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Railbender Ale - Erie Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Railbender AleRailbender Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

689 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 689
Reviews: 318
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 14.56%
Wants: 20
Gots: 60 | 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: 689 | Reviews: 318
Photo of Gavage
3.64/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of longdivision
4.16/5  rDev +14.3%
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.

Photo of Imstillthegman
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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.

Photo of sulldaddy
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

Photo of iceball585
4.05/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

Photo of InandOutBeerGuys
2.91/5  rDev -20.1%
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.

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark orange amber with a decent initial head that fades to a healthy cap and leaves some pretty good lacing. Aroma is toasty with dry malt, a touch of honey, pineapple, and with quite a rich breadiness. Taste is a little softer, but still has a lot of that dry malt flavor and perhaps some orange marmalade flavors. Mouthfeel is smooth and polished and easy drinking. By far the best of their bottled beers that I have had.

Photo of shirfan
4.2/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark orange-copper with a thin layer of white foam and lots of small particulate matter.

Juicy, fruity aroma -- warm rich malt, overripe pear, baked apple. Almost a whiff of turpentine.

Flavor is rich, thick, juicy, sweet. Caramelized malt mingles with some fruity, almost Belgian notes, yet stays *just* in the scottish ale realm instead of becoming a frankenbeer. Pear, caramel chews, a touch of pepper in the finish. Very sweet but not quite cloying, and just smooth enough to not be a slow sipper.

I guess there's more to Erie PA than walleye fishing and gas stations.

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

poured nicely into me glass. nice head and carbonation. good lacing as i drank. very good malt smell, not overpowering but nice. i enjoyed the malty taste. nice balanced taste for me with some bitter hop finish. i only had one of these but wish i could have enjoyed a couple more.

good beer. suckem up and movem out!


Photo of Porkchuck
3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at a local Beer Distributor. Good beer! Good price! So far a considerable change in color when chilled in the beer fridge. Basic clear amber to clowdy amber. Thick head with smooth finish and no harsh bite or tang. The moderate alcohol content would infer a bite....but not so bad. Good beer/good price.

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

I first had this beer at the 2007 Hagerstown Beer Festival. An otherwise high note in a disappointing beer festival environment. The next thing I knew, it was available at Hagerstown's Wooden Keg. Awesome.

I like this beer. It's definitely middle of the road, but meeting the staff, it's clear that they're as passionate about beer as anyone else. While this is their flagship beer, and a little high in ABV for it's style, I think they have a lot to offer as a fairly new brewery.

Give it a try; they're relatively small market, and I suggest trying their "Cease and Desist."

Photo of cichief
3/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had on draft at Friscoe's Grille, Columbia, MD. Pours a deep amber, almost brown, with a light brown head. Smells malty weet, a slight smokieness underneath. Tasted very sweet, almost cloying, some smoked malt in the background. Medium on the tongue, but overall very sweet. I may enjoy more of these if I wasn't drinking any other beer, but they were rather sweet for my palate.

Photo of RDAdams
2.85/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very clear, amber, a decent off-white head with moderate head retention..

Nothing to write home about. Low malt aroma with a hint of alcohol.

Again not much except an unbalanced combination of mils malt and alcohol

Surprisingly good body with a moderate carbonation and the clean, crisp, finish of a lager.

This is a very good session beer, But the alcohol will snwak up on you.

Photo of Phatz
4.1/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I bought a mix case of Erie Brewing Company beer several weeks ago at Chester County Beverage. 8 each of Mad Anthony's Ale [awful] Presque Isle Pilsner [pretty good] and Railbender Ale [really good]. So for $29 it is almost a worthy purchase for 2/3rds of the case.

This is a simple sweet Scottish Ale. Easy to drink.

Appearance: Pours a clear amber copper brown color with a light tan head.

Smell: Toffee, caramel smoke and nuts, with a melted browned butter, bread and earthy hop aroma as well.

Taste: Brown sugar and sweet bread on the tongue. Simple. Delectable. A little bit of fruit and then gently the hops poke through right before the finish and in the aftertaste a mix of so fruit that fades and then a hop bitterness cling to the cheeks and tongue.

Mouthfeel: It is light in the mouth but the light dryness hit the spot late this evening.

Drinkability: This is the one from the mix case that I wish I had more of. I want to find a case of Railbender alone.

Hope this is helpful.

Photo of MCDuhamel
3.57/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into an English pint glass at fridge temperature.

A: Interesting copper color. Very clear, showing morderate carbonation. Poured a two inch off-white head that slowly dissipates into a film on the surface. The color is not quite what I expected for an "old ale," although I don't know that it is necessarily out of style.

S: Nose is slightly musty and buttery, with a hint of English or perhaps Continental hops. Some sugar notes. Very pleasant.

T: The taste is different than any beer I've had before. Treacle or some other sugar syrup seems to dominate the flavor, with some diacetyl present as well. The finish is slightly hoppy, but a buttered popcorn character is detectable too. Nothing unpleasant.

M: Medium mouthfeel with some carbonation providing a tickle. Appropriate for the style.

D: Not hard to drink, but unusual enough and strong enough that one or two per session is probably plenty.

Overall: I enjoyed this beer and would certainly buy it again. If you think of Old Peculiar as the standard against which to measure old ales, this may seem way off base. Of course, I'm not at all sure that Old Peculiar really is the standard for an old ale, and this interpretation is both interesting and quite nice to drink.

Photo of jmp491
3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into glass, with very little head.

The appearance was a darker amber color. There was a malty smell, maybe with some hop presence. The beer had a light but malty taste. Had a carmel or honey smell. At first, there was a flavor of carmel or malts. But the aftertaste was a bit more bitter, you could sense a small hoppy presence. It had a slight alcohol aftertaste, but a good finish. Smooth going down overall, had a medium dry mouthfeel. It's a decent drink, but nothing special that I would go out of my way for.

Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- amber/orange body with small white head that fades quickly.

S- malt with some small carmel undertones.

T- initial taste of carmel and malt. slight bitter aftertaste but overall clean finish.

M- medium carbonation and medium body. fairly smooth.

D- high ABV is hard to detect and its pretty easy to drink overall.

Photo of jbm5
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank out of 12oz bottle I bought at a local micro shop.
A: Dark amber with little head that dissipated quickly with little lacing.
S: Small amount of aroma, but a little malty with some caramel undertones.
T: Malt comes through well initially with a sweet undertone, but leaves a bitter aftertaste that lingers. The higher alcohol volume is not evident, which is nice. Found the bitter aftertaste to be a bit overbearing the rest of the flavors.
M: Feels medium bodied. Not overbearing, but you know you are drinking a beer.
D: Ok and a beer you can drink easily without tasting the alcohol. Not a beer I would seek out, but ok.

Photo of perfectkaos
3.66/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

First met this beer as part of a microbiology field trip to the Erie Brewery. Pours an amber color with a thick foamy head with good retention.

smells sort of bready, with some hop notes as well

nice balanced taste of malts and hops with almost no hint of the 6.8% punch. though once it warms up a little it gets harder and harder to drink.

Awesome beer during the old $2 Thursday special days at the bar. Good enough to buy a case of every once in a while, but nothing overly spectacular. Definitely better from the tap than from the bottle.

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

Poured a hazy deep amber color with creamy off-white head.
Smell is lightly of malt with a much stronger hop presence (grassy, piney) showing through.
Taste also shows lots of hops, moderate malt and a mild alcohol note, especially as the beer warms
Finish shows more alcohol.
An OK beer. Really enjoyed it to start, less so as the glass emptied.

Photo of ndekke39
3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank this from a 12 oz bottle with no freshness date. Pours a hazy honey color with a small white head. Smells of bread, orange, lemon, and salt. Very complex aromas. Nice grainy taste to it - what I love about the style - with a bready aftertaste. Medium mouthfeel. Very drinkable beer. Would gladly have another.

Photo of weeare138
2.41/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appears a transparent honey toned gold with a 2 finger fluffy white head that quickly fades out. Scattered lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is grainy, grassy, along with cake that's been drizzled with honey...interesting combination to say the least. I'm getting the feeling that this isn't the "Scottish Ale" (as BA claims...should be an English Ale as another reviewer posted) that I was getting into.
Taste is of bitter skunk weed with sugar and dishwashing soap. What the hell happened here?
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, very smooth, sweet up front before becoming bitter with a gritty, semi-dry finish.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

Photo of Ricochet
3.23/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It had a malt smell, that was about it. Maybe some of the wheat this is made from with a slight alchohol presence. It appears draker orange, with little head and smaller lace , and a little cloud. Mouth was thick at the start, rolled around with a little hop bitterness then swallowed thin.

I got around to tasting and absorbing the flavor, and it was like the scotch ales I've had. Malt was front and center with a hop bitter to offset the sweetness of the malts and the alcohol is there but blended in.

Well rounded brew. Not my style, but good for a change up once in awhile.

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Railbender Ale from Erie Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 689 ratings.