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Railbender Ale - Erie Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Railbender AleRailbender Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

684 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 684
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.
View: Beers (16) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 684 | Reviews: 315 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.11/5  rDev -14.6%
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.

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.

Photo of akorsak
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

Photo of williamherbert
3.28/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

Railbender Ale from Erie Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 684 ratings.