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Railbender Ale - Erie Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Railbender AleRailbender Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

669 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 669
Reviews: 313
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 14.56%
Wants: 20
Gots: 43 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Railbender Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 669 | Reviews: 313 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

tgbljb, Feb 09, 2007
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.

ndekke39, Feb 06, 2007
Photo of weeare138
2.38/5  rDev -34.6%
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.

weeare138, Feb 02, 2007
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

WVbeergeek, Feb 01, 2007
Photo of Ricochet
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%
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.

Ricochet, Jan 29, 2007
Photo of dmamiano
3/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer poured rather nicely with an amber color and fairly thick head. I really couldnt distuingish any great hop aroma but detected a slight malty character in the nose.
As far as the tasting, well average is the best I can give it. The mouthfeel was very average, carbonation good but any detectable hops or malts were pretty much left for the guessing. Kind of reminded me of what one of the " Macros" would market as a "craft beer" in disguise.
Very drinkable for sure but nothing I would go out of my way for.

dmamiano, Jan 02, 2007
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.1/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Finely flecked kumquat with multiple streams of tiny bubbles leading up to a richly creamy cap that is somewhere between ivory and palest ecru in color. I'm not sure the beer looks all that Scottish, but then I'm not sure that Scottish ales have a typical look. Thin, sudsy sheets of lace are beginning to appear on the glass. I hope it tastes as good as it looks.

I pick up just a hint of earthy maltiness in the nose... and very little else. Again, there's nothing here that is especially Scottish. Actually, the brewery calls this an English old ale. Since that isn't a style recognized here, I'd say it fits English strong ale better than anything else. Maybe I'll change my mind once I actually taste it.

Now I'm not sure what the hell to call it since there's almost nothing of interest on the taste buds. Give me more to go on Erie. Railbender is caramel malt-dominant with a touch of earthy, probably English, hoppiness. It's sort of bock-like, but I'll still have to go with English strong ale for $100 Alex. A noticeable alcohol presence is further confirmation of that style choice.

Nothing really stands out within the flavor profile. There's more flavor than aroma, but the beer spins its wheels on the palate and can't seem to get any traction. It seems that an overhaul is in order. I'd keep the name and the cool looking train engine on the label though.

The mouthfeel impresses more than everything except the appearance. While it could stand to be a little more chewy (especially for the style that I've now bestowed upon it), it's smooth enough and supple enough to get me through the rest of the bottle with ease. The quiet carbonation is loud enough.

I can now say with finality that Erie Brewing Company beer is not to my liking. I bought three bottles during my last trip home to Ohio. After being disappointed by the first two, I placed what little hope I had left in Railbender. Unfortunately, it failed to meet me halfway. Not recommended.

BuckeyeNation, Dec 14, 2006
Photo of watermelonman
3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This arrived as a deep orange and gold. The head was medium in size, lasted well, and left a fair amount of lace.

The smell is mostly of malts but not very strong. Some alcohol and hop flavor comes through too. The taste is of amber malts all the way through, with some hops and a bit of fruit coming through in the finish. The mouthfeel is somewhat flat, while the drinkability is fairly good.

watermelonman, Nov 25, 2006
Photo of akorsak
3.78/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The ale is a hazy golden color with a thin head that does lace very nicely in the glass.

S: The ale has a strong malty aroma that has a strong undertone of sweetness. The sweetness is not from the malts but emerges from the alcohol and hops.

T: The unique aroma continues into the taste, providing a sweetness that accentuates an alcohol presence and a smooth hoppiness. The sweetness is unusual but good, a real change of pace in an ale.

M: The mouthfeel is very difficult to describe, as the sweetness is unusual and very flavorful.

D: The beer is odd, different in a good way. Well worth a look.

akorsak, Oct 22, 2006
Photo of williamherbert
3.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Light brown/copper color. Very clear with a nice, lacy head. Very good carbonation; some but not fizzy. The head thins out, but does not go away.

After a bit of agitation, the smell has a unique, sweet and malty flavor. Almost as if there is some sort of molasses or toffee in it. It's a deep but sweet scent. Not sure my feelings on it, but I'll give it points for originality. As it warms up, the smell hits you right in the nostril.

I don't know if I've ever tried anything quite like this one. The malt has a sort of malty but fruity quality to it. It's also bitter, but not a hoppy bitter; just a bitter-bitter. There are no hops to speak of.

It's very thick, and with a surprisingly strong alcoholic bite to it. It is a smooth beer at first, but once it goes down it has a surprisingly thick and heavy chaser to it. I could probably only drink one of these at a time.

williamherbert, Oct 13, 2006
Photo of JohneHoodlum
3.63/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a dateless brown bottle into a pint glass after being well refrigerated.

Appearance – Clear amber in color. A fair amount of head with good lacing.

Smell - Toasty malt an caramel.

Taste - Big sweet malt flavor with a hint of pine. It’s balanced nicely with a toasty bitter finish.

Mouthfeel –A smooth medium bodied beer with nice carbonation. It has a warming aftertaste.

Drinkability – This beer hides its alcohol nicely with its well balanced flavors so I could see one putting a few of these down in a sitting. A decent Scottish ale. Give this brew a try if you’re a fan of that style.

JohneHoodlum, Oct 07, 2006
Photo of jhollick
2.73/5  rDev -25%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured with a minimal head, but had impressive lacing throughout the beer. The smell is not strong, mostly of malt and farmhouse type smells. The taste is biscuity and doughy with a dry aftertaste. Some raisin and plum flavors come through as well. The alcohol is well hidden, most likely leading to the dryness, as there is little to no hop presence in this beer. I am not a fan of the aftertaste at all; it actually overshadows the taste of the beer for me. I had this a couple months ago on tap and didn't care much for it, but I thought I'd give it another try. My mind hasn't really changed.

Overall, I can't call this drinkable because it isn't very well-balanced, its somewhat high in alcohol, and the sticky and dry aftertaste really stays with you. I won't be reaching for this again.

jhollick, Sep 24, 2006
Photo of Dogbrick
3.13/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sample at AleFest Dayton: Clear amber color with a medium foamy light beige head. Spotty lacing. Equal parts hops and malt in the nose. Medium-bodied and clean on the tongue with mild malt and hops flavors. Some fruit is present too. The different flavors don’t really click and nothing really stands out though. The finish is short and malty. Average overall.

Dogbrick, Sep 07, 2006
Photo of psinderson
3.23/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Nice clear copper color with a foamy, off-white head. Minimal lacing present.

Smell: All malt with a toasty background. No detectable hop aroma. A little bit of alcohol also present.

Taste: Full malt sweetness up front, a hint of hop citrus in the middle and finishes with a mild toasty bitterness. Nice complex combination.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with noticeable carbonation tickling the tounge.

Drinkability: Good going down but it may be just a little too much for more than that. Plus, the high alcohol precludes too much consumption! (or does it??).

Overall, a decent example of the style, but nothing mind blowing.

psinderson, Aug 22, 2006
Photo of dwarvenspirits
3.43/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Apperance is light orange to amber color, almost like an Oktoberfest color but a little lighter.

It has a medium bitterness which allows it to finish nice and crisp.

Not a lot of hop flavor to this beer, and I think that if it did then it would make it a more complex beer.

Cannot taste the alcohol in this, however, it's probably fermented out well, which allows it to leave that dry feeling in your mouth.

Not a bad beer. I'd buy a case of it for the summer time but it wouldn't be a permanent beer to have on hand.

dwarvenspirits, Aug 02, 2006
Photo of dansm
2.3/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A-Pours a light to medium amber with a small off-white head.

S-Mostly grainy with a hint of alcohol. Not too aromatic.

T-The taste isn't bad, just not very memorable. A little grainy with some hints of citrus, and just a little bitter kick at the end.

M-medium bodied and dry, with a little carbonation. Again not bad.

D-This is a fairly drinkable beer.

dansm, Jul 27, 2006
Photo of ski271
2.2/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A good bit of sediment in the bottom of the bottle. A careful pour produces a mostly clear, medium amber beer with a tinge of red. Almost no head, just a small ring of slightly off-white bubbles. Smell is of mild citrus and grain. Nothing all that special. More of the same in the taste, along with some rather unpleasant yeast flavors. It has a medium-light body, dry texture and moderate carbonation. Overall, it wasn’t a very good beer experience. It’s not bad, but there’s nothing about this beer that would ever make me want to pay that much for another.

ski271, Jul 11, 2006
Photo of AltBock
3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle with a real cool label on it. Erie Brewing must have recently revamped the look of their labels. The label is black and that of a steaming locomotive (that was EST in 1993) breaking through a brick wall and almost jumping off label right at you. It's a better label than their older boring label with just a small train at the bottom. The only other things on the label is just the usual stuff like ABV%, 12oz, Refund value, and the Govt. warning. That means no date or batch # on the back (there isn't one) or the front label.

Appearance: When poured into a mug, the beer was a nice dark orange/copper color with just a small head of white foam. The head of foam didn't bother to stay for very long and left just a few rings and almost no lace around the glass.

Smell: The smell was ok, but there was not much going on. I kept trying to get a stronger aroma out, but I just couldn't. What I got was plenty of sweet malts with a slight fruity background. Like I said before, not much going on in the aroma.

Taste: The taste was light in bitters in the beginning. After that comes a jumble of fruits (too many I couldn't tell which fruits they were), and then finishes with a nice sweet malt backbone. It's too bad that none of the flavors came jumping at me, like the train on the label did.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, very smooth, and with just a slight hint of bitter hops in the aftertaste.

Drinkability: Something that was better than I thought it would be. Here I thought that this beer would be watery and bland for some reason. Overall a nice tasty and very affordable session beer. Something I might pick up again when I go back to PA.

AltBock, Jun 25, 2006
Photo of oberon
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This was a big seller last night at the Pizza Plant quite popular with the patrons,poured a dull lighter amber with a thinner off white head.Fruity malt and brown sugar in the nose with some lighter sweet dough notes as well.Lightly sweet and somewhat fruity definently malt tilted,some brown sugar and cookie dough in the finish.Hmm not a bad ale quite good but seems its just misisng something to make it a real winner but still good as it is.

oberon, May 26, 2006
Photo of riversider76
3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice rich amber. Thin head, and nice lacing. Aroma is of sweet malts,and fruits. Taste is smooth, and sweet from start to finish. Yes, this beer is on the light side, but still good tasting. I enjoyed it, and would buy it again. Give it a try sometime!

riversider76, May 19, 2006
Photo of tempest
3.18/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bit of an odd scotch ale. Pours dark amber with a little bit of a white head. Smells and taste of rich, carmelized malts. Not bad, but not that great either. No hops, but some fruit and bitterness (almost too much). An average scotch ale, nothing special.

tempest, May 14, 2006
Photo of HappyHourHero
3.28/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a small, yellow head that faded quickly to a film. Transparent copper colored beer. Smells of floral hops and a pinch of caramel malt; not very inviting. Moderately sweet biscuit and caramel malt, some hop tea, and little grainyness in the flavor. The finish is moderately bitter, and a bit much for a Scottish Ale. Mouthfeel is light and spritzy. It's missing those sweet dark malt flavors. It reminds me more of a big English Pale Ale then a Scottish Ale.

HappyHourHero, Apr 15, 2006
Photo of WesWes
3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a dry and semi-musty malt scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts. It has some breadlike character. The taste is good. It has a nice malty flavor that goes down easy and finishes dry and breadlike. It's rich in crystal and bisquit malts with a light peated feel. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking beer, but not the best Scottish style ale on the market.

WesWes, Apr 14, 2006
Photo of santanas95
3.1/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice amber color. I might have gotten 1/4 inch head with a fairly vigorous pour, which stuck around for about 30 seconds and completely disappeared with no lacing. I got mostly malt in the aroma, with the alcohol just in the background. No hop aroma whatsoever. Carbonation is adequate, which makes me wonder what happened with the head when I first poured. Taste again was primarily malt, again with the alcohol backdrop. A slight graininess. Again, I am left wondering where the hops are, because I get nothing in either taste or aroma as the glass empties.
Overall, this wasn't a bad beer. There certainly was nothing overtly offensive about it. It was easily drinkable for the 6.8% ABV, but left me wanting. Nothing stellar, but I'd buy it again based on the drinkability.

santanas95, Apr 01, 2006
Photo of Naes
3.18/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This is an amber colored ale with orange hues. The head is a two finger layer of white froth.
The aroma is dominated by sweet malts. It is a bit nutty and has a strong caramel malt characteristic.
The flavor has a caramel malt base and gives a slight alcohol warming. There is also a surprising citrus flavor with a mild hop finish that the aroma gives no hint of.
The mouth feel moderately carbonated and is on the lighter side of medium body.

Naes, Mar 18, 2006
Railbender Ale from Erie Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 669 ratings.