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Railbender Ale - Erie Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Railbender AleRailbender Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

655 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 655
Reviews: 313
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 14.29%
Wants: 20
Gots: 38 | 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: 655 | Reviews: 313 | Display Reviews Only:
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
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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
Photo of sublimesipping
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of an Xmas mix six gift from my father in-law, a Gannon U alum. Had not heard anything about this beer, but then found out the beer gets the nod from Mr. Bryson. I've been told that this beer has a strong following in Western PA, don't think I've seen it in Philly yet.
the verdict for me was that this was a really nice, solid beer. I found it to be a pretty mellow brew with strong malty tones- pretty clear scotch notes throughout- a bit of hop bitterness at the end to give it a real nice hops finish. Very drinkable beer that paired quite well with some of the Stilton left over from yesterday's celebrations.
-I would definitely drink this again. I will look for it on tap, but maybe have to wait until I am in Pittsburgh again(go Steelers).
I thought that this was a real working-class beer in the sense that it works hard to give a memorable distinctive flavor throughout. Good beer to drink on a cold blustery day on the shores of a Great Lake.

sublimesipping, Jan 02, 2006
Photo of eze153
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a decent pour; hazy amber color with a qicuk fat head, then a frothy lace remains. a slight hoppy smell. I find the taste to be really satisfying, as of oats and wheat roasted to a medium degree, which really covers the alcohol content well, which happens to be 6.8% I think this might be Erie's best beer so far. there is not any after taste either, which I really enjoy, so it makes to be a good drinking beer, one I would keep reaching for one after another. it's worth a try, you might find yourself drinking more than one!

eze153, Dec 21, 2005
Photo of HoorayBeer
4.08/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Glad to see Erie Brewing Company is still out to try and make good beer. This one came looking like a hazey amber color with a very small head and laced the glass well. After pouring into a glass, had a malty nose to it, full bodied scent. Malty taste right off with some sweet caramel afternotes. Good taste, easy going down. This was one of their first good brews.

HoorayBeer, Dec 18, 2005
Photo of RBorsato
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Golden with a nice tan head and very nice carbonation that leaves sporadic lace. Sweet (almost fruity sweet) malt aroma and flaovrs without being cloyingly so... Medium bodied, creamy, and smooth but a bit airy due to carbonation.

Nothing really special here ...

Per Erie website: Not that you you can taste them but for what it's worth, "Czech Saaz and English Fuggles hops"

'4069' lasered on bottom
Tasted: 03/11/05

RBorsato, Mar 17, 2005
Photo of shapudding
2.85/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Very cloudy and unclear amber, looks like home brewed iced-tea. Good amount of milkshakey almond froth went away disappointingly quick, with no retention. -Left as quickly as it had piled up and left only a very thin dusting in a minute or two. Warm scents, just a bit of alcohol floating up from it, I kind of think I am imagining the slight aroma of scotch in the background... then mostly oranges. Nice citrus flavors, but not too intense. Kind of like having one of those odd fruit cups where you get the grapefruit, pineapple, and oranges... but they have been soaking together too long to be able to taste which is which with your eyes closed...? They all taste good, but the same. Just a bit of peppery grapefruit rind countered with a bit of honey sweetness at the end. The carbination is noticable, it foams up over your tongue and creates a bit more of a medium body. Decent flavor, bit sweet in the lingering flavors... left with a candi-sugar...maybe even artificial sweetner flavor?... on the tongue. Bit of darkened toast... There is just alot of flavor left sitting around in the mouth. This is not one I would really go back for again, but I do think it is more of a summer drinker than one to have had when it was 18 freakin' degrees out.... I will have to come back to the Erie's again.
I did grab this case of mixed for my Dad, since this was his birthplace and made a fun gift for a split with him, in his venture into following me into the world of craftbrew.

shapudding, Mar 09, 2005
Photo of Bighuge
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazed copper appearance. Thin white head that leave stringy rings of lace. Sweet malt, peat and candy come together nicely on the nose. The flavor contains some sweet malt and candy, but also some bready and yeasty tones that are pleasant and incorporated nicely. Some nice doughiness as well. Mouthfeel is mildly spritzy. Body is about medium or so. Quite a pleasant beer.

Bighuge, Mar 03, 2005
Photo of asabreed
4.43/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

One of my favorite little-known beers, if you will. Goes for around $20 a case, which in my opinion is surely a steal (though I seem to say that a lot I feel).

Appearance: Not the most impressive in the world, but pretty good overall. Decent white head that dissipates quickly. Amber and copper color, while on the lighter side and also has pretty full carbonation.

Smell: Good balance of hops and malt in the nose, or at least that's what it smells like. Kind of sweet, but welcoming, not overbearing. Smells of fruit also.

Taste: Very fruity and complex, with some hop bitterness lingering, though the malts are more present than anything. Alcohol presence is more evident as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, medium carbonation. Pretty good overall.

Drinkability: At 6.8% it can be deceiving; though the alcohol is evident, it's not overpowering, and it can be a pretty wicked (in the good and bad sense of the word) session beer if you let.

I realize the Erie Brewing Company is small, but if you have a chance to try it, definitely do. I feel it's their best beer (though there are few), and it should get more hype than it does.

asabreed, Jan 16, 2005
Photo of santoslhalper
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearence: Pours a simple gold color with a nice head. Head leaves no lacing, and goes quickly.

Smell: In the nouse it's hoppy at first with malts in the back. Very floral while very caramel at once. My complaint is it's smells much bigger than 6.8%. Still nice.

Taste and Mouthfeel: A very unique tasting beer, that is one of the most balanec beers I've ever had. Very hoppy and malty at once, but neither overpowering. No flavors stand out because it blends so well. And it feels quite creamy in the mouth, but I want a little less than they give me.

Drinkability and Overall: This is a very interesting brew, unlike anything I've had from PA. The first beer I've had from Erie, and I must say I'm impressed. It's not the best beer I've ever had, but definitly a welcome change. I could pound a few, but more than 3 may be to much. Try it.

santoslhalper, Dec 04, 2004
Photo of emre007
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really like this beer. It's perfect if you want to have just one beer before class or work (or after) but still feel it after you drink it. Too often, I drink a beer and still feel empty. Not in the fullness sense, but beer has alcohol for a reason, and Railbender gets it right. You don't need to pound this stuff to have a nice, relaxing buzz.

It is kinda sweet, but I'm beginning to think all the upper alcohol beers are sweet (cause sugar ferments, yada yada yada). It tastes kinda like Victory (another PA brewery)'s Golden Monkey, but w/ a fuller feel. Golden Monkey may be 9.5%, but it just doesn't have the same good effect as Railbender's 6.8%.


emre007, Aug 01, 2004
Photo of JackTheRipper
3.43/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Clear amber, scant head, no lacing.

Smell: Hoppy, with a bit of a smoky peaty Scotch aroma in there. Alcohol smell is quite strong for the stated ABV%.

Taste: Faintly smoky malt taste. Strong levels of sweetness throughout. Drinking this feels like drinking Scotch.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium bodied. Again, the alcohol level seems far higher than the stated level. This beer packs a punch.

D&N: Smooth drinking, but a bit too heavy on the ETOH to have more than one or two of. If the alcohol were masked a bit better, this would be a beer I'd recommend.

JackTheRipper, Mar 26, 2004
Photo of brewman1526
3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A pretty good beer from Erie... who would have thought? Pleasant maltiness, gentle alcohol warmth, a slight hop presence... this is not representative of most Scottish ales I've had, which I'm pretty sure is what it's intended to be, but still an enjoyable beer.

brewman1526, Sep 09, 2003
Photo of dedalus
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

i was so pleasantly surprised by this beer ... i live in erie, which is for the most part a dead-end town with no jobs and next to no culture, so i assume that anything that originates here is trash. not so with the railbender.

it poured out thick and dark ruby, with a substantial head that left a thick lacing trickling down the sides of the glass.

the initial scent was powerfully flowery and hoppy. i took another sniff before i drank, and this second sniff revealed fruity, juicy malt aromas right behind the hops.

the taste ... gorgeous. impeccably balanced. complex, fruity malt flavors unfolded on my palate: raisins, sugarplums, dates, and brown sugar. the hops weren't going to let themselves get pushed around here, though. this is an american interpretation of a scottish ale, and this showed best when the hops came in for the long finish. firm, flowery bitterness folded itself around the malt flavors, mingling with and complimenting those flavors perfectly.

the mouthfeel was thick, but by no means syrupy.

i'm tipping the scales at 130 lbs., so the slightly high alcohol content limited me to one bottle. but i will be sure to have many more in the future. i highly recommend this beautifully balanced ale from the erie brewing co. it is hoppier than a to-the-letter scottish ale, but again, it is an american interpretation, so more hops are to be expected. full flavored, with a great mix of malt and hops in both scent and taste.



dedalus, Sep 07, 2003
Photo of Brent
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a nice copper. Malty at first, thinning out a bit and then finishing somewhat dry. Some caramel malt, with moderate hopping. A some mineral water flavors. Seemed more English than Scottish in nature. Nothing particularly noteworthy, but not bad.

Brent, Aug 02, 2003
Photo of aaronh
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bright, medium copper color with amber highlights. Topped by a cream colored head. The aroma is primarily caramel notes backed by a light hoppiness. The taste echoes the caramel notes, along with a very nice bitterness and finishes very clean. The mouthfeel is solid and well carbonated, and the drinkability is good. A solid offering from Erie Brewing.

aaronh, Jun 07, 2003
Railbender Ale from Erie Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 655 ratings.