Railbender Ale | Erie Brewing Co.

336 Reviews
Railbender AleRailbender Ale

Brewed by:
Erie Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Scottish Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Erie Brewing Company flagship beer features a deep malt flavor, caramel sweetness lingering in a soft hop flavor. Dark Amber.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-17-2001

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Reviews: 336 | Ratings: 788
Photo of Act25
3.56/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Scots Ale not my style, with Gubna being probably top of my list.
a) Too flat, not enough lace on top of a pretty, but light amber/copper/brown body.
s) A bit of vinegar, but mostly honey, toffee, butterscotch, sweet. No hop.
t) Sweet mostly, with honey, toffee, biscuits, gingerbread. Too sweet for me. Also lacking malt and hop for me.
f) Medium bodied, sweetness not balanced enough, not that refreshing.
O) Sweeter side of Scotch ale - which is too sweet to begin with, but worth a try. Not badly made, but sweet.

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.08/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into snifter.

A: very little to no head slightly off white tiny in nature. Slightly murky bright brown almost amber in color.

S: Lots of honey, toffee, a little butterscotch, sweet.

T: Soft honey, crackery, toffee, almost a little like gingerbread. Fairly sweet good bit of doughy malts.

M: Medium bodied lightly clings to the tongue on the end.

O: This is a solid beer, nicely sweet lots of honey very smooth. All the way around easy drinking if you like a scotch ale you will enjoy this one. It is on the sweeter side.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.51/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Today is the eve of All Hallow's Evening, aka Hallowe'en, and my treats for the remainder of the day will consist of beers from (e)Erie Brewing Company in (e)Erie, PA. No tricks, hopefully just treats and plenty of eerie goings-on as I work on the systematic eradication of my bottle backlog.

From the bottle: "enjoy erie brews".

I Pop!ped the cap and since nothing suggested otherwise, I went with a fairly heavy-handed pour, producing a quick finger of fizzy, foamy, tawny head with modest retention. Color was Deep Amber/Light Copper to Copper (SRM = > 13, < 17) with NE-quality clarity. Nose was very sweet with loads of caramel. Hmm. Well, tomorrow is the day for sweets, so I will press on. This is apparently a part of the style, but not my cuppa tea. Mouthfeel was medium. The taste was unquestionably caramel, but (thankfully) not as sweet as the nose had led me to expect. The Beer Styles section mentions "smoky characters", but I was reminded of not being especially careful in HomeEc when making caramel and nearly allowing it to scorch. It was less smoky than towards burnt, but that would not be a fair characterization, either. The sweetness was held in check by a flavor that I could not put my finger on, but I would be very hesitant to assign it to the hops. Interesting. The finish was in that nether-realm straddling semi-sweet & semi-dry. It was not a malt bomb, which is also allowable, but nor was it as smoky as I might have liked. It was kind of a one-and-done for me.

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Photo of dbl_delta
3.71/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Undated bottle into pint glass. Pours a cloudy amber with a thin, coarse, off-white head. Initial impression is fruit (pear) and maybe melon, plus vanilla and a light touch of caramel. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Kind of high ABV for the style, but very drinkable. Smooth and slightly sweet, fruity finish. Not bad but not a really great representative of the Scottish Ale style.

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Photo of Catena724
4.35/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful red amber into a standard pint glass.
This is a full bodied, dark amber , malty ale that has a great mouth feel, a slight hop and enough alcohol to make 2 of these equal to 3 Firehouse Red by North Country in buzz factor. Is that a thing? it is now, since I have had 2. : )
I still like Firehouse Red, but prefer the Railbender for several reasons. Bottled, instead of canned. Besides the higher alcohol content, the Railbender is bigger on flavor, and a fuller bodied beer. The head on both is on the shy side.

Discovered this by accident in a mixed case from Erie Brewing with Derailed Black Cherry Ale ( the beer I wanted), other beers in the mixed case were Mad Anthony IPA, and a pretty good Pilsner. I loved the Railbender !!! Have bought 2 full cases since, and still have a bottle of the Cherry left. I am trying other Scottish and Irish red ales, but this is by far the best of what I have tasted to date.

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Photo of mvanaskie13
3.83/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a narrow glass: color is copper to amber, head is light tan with small bubbles and presents about 1/2 inch thick then dissipates to a small top with light lacing.

Smell is a pleasant blend of toasted and caramel malts, light raisin/grape notes, bit of toffee and rum like flavor.

Taste from this bottle seems a bit lighter and less malty than in previous tastings and on draft (which they consistently have at the Moon & Raven in Williamsport, PA). Even still the malt flavor is high quality and delicious, the lighter quality in this bottled selection makes it very drinkable. Flavors are similar to the aroma with light toast/caramel/toffee malt, lighter hints of grape/raisin.

Mouthfeel is pleasant with crispness and moderate carbonation, the bottled version seems to have a higher carb level than many of the drafts i've had.

Overall, this is a great beer with great focus on high quality malt presence with moderate hoppiness and great drinkability. I'll look to re-review with a draft version to adequately describe this beer.

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Photo of AndrewMichael
3/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a stemmed, tulip style glass. I enjoy Scottish Ales, but did not find myself enjoying this one. In my mind, I kept thinking "malt bomb", with the amount of malt forwardness on this beer, as expected, but it remained all the way through in the aftertaste. I was not getting any sweetness or hint of hop.

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Photo of dacrza1
3.6/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

DATE: May 5, 2016... OCCASION: a cold night is the right night for a Scottish ale... GLASSWARE: Celebrator Doppelbock pokal... APPEARANCE: pours a bright copper color with sparse effervescence... the off-white head fizzles to a pencil-thin ring... AROMA: peat to start, with sweet bread and toffee-sweet richness... PALATE: medium-bodied and more lively than expected... sweet at the the lips and staying power at the finish... sneaky strong at 6.8%... TASTE: rich caramel and toffee strike a powerful 1-2 punch... toasted malts overtake any hop suggestions... the fruity esters are pear, maybe, and faint citrus... peat late... not enough impact to be considered a strength OVERALL: a solid offering that maintains the genre’s integrity... highly drinkable... hearty and warming, to boot--not a bad introduction to the Erie mix case, and a flagship that might not be worth revisiting in a sixer...

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Photo of baconfromwalmart
3/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

L: Amber brown, some lacing after soft pour that disappeared quickly.
S: A fresh and very slightly tart malt.
T: Fruity esters mid sip, finishes with smooth malt. Not what I was expecting and a little weird, but not bad.
F: Low carbonation, pleasant thin mouth feel.
O: Not quite sure what to make of this.

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Photo of Dr-Baltar
4.2/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look - Not in a glass I am comfortable judging from, so automatic 5!

Smell - Smells malty and a little sweet. A touch of smokiness

Taste - It is well balanced. It is not a robert the bruce or another very forward beer. Malty, caramelized, a little roasty, a touch of hops. Very nice

Feel - Nice carb and a little heavier.

Overall, it is a nicely balanced beer. I wouldn't mind a little more malt and hops, but still very nicely balanced.

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Photo of jp32
3.34/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Look: Auburn colored in the glass. Transparent. Not much head retention.

Smell: Caramel-covered sweet nut bread.

Taste: In the front it's sweet and big on caramel and toffee. A certain nuttiness is present. But all of this quickly fades into a finish that is insanely bready. That bread-like aftertaste lasts and lasts, at times almost becoming the most assertive aspect of the flavor profile.

It's medium bodied. The carbonation and mouthfeel are smooth, seemingly right where they should be.

I enjoyed this beer, and I hope to enjoy more from Erie Brewing again soon.

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Photo of Smk54
3.76/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 12oz bottle into snifter. Clear Amber copper color with thick light brown head that dissipated quickly into good lacing. Mild malty bread notes. Smooth malty taste. No bitterness but not sweet. Hint of root beer aftertaste. Very good ale. Probably the best I've had from Erie Brewing.

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Photo of scotorum
3.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75


Another from the beer club subscription Christmas gift from my daughters. We don't get Erie brews in my state.

a: Clear copper with an initially inch thick white head which receded quickly to a few small patches of surface foam and no lacing.

s: Mild bready-caramel.

t; Follows the nose but overpowered immediately by a fairly sharp bite. Bready finish. Mellows out later to a bready-caramel sweetness.

m: Medium with good body and heavy carbonation tingle.

o: Decent Scottish ale, easy drinking except for the overcarbonation.

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Photo of atr2605
3.85/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A-pours a nice copper color with a white head with average retention
S-caramel, butterscotch, hint of prunes in the background
T-caramel, candied sugar, mild bitterness, and some dry biscuit flavors in the finish
M-medium bodied
O-Very drinkable beer, nice balance and sweetness.

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Photo of Cnote_crafty_1
5/5  rDev +38.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Erie Brewing Company - Railbender Ale Scottish Style Ale 6.8% ABV. 26 IBU's

Look: Light copper/orangish with a ultra thin white head. It is slightly hazey and translucent. If you put your hand behind it you will only see the a shadowy outline of your hand.
Smell: Sweet caramel, sweet malty, raisins, grapes, sort of reminds me of grape wine slightly.
Taste: The taste is very much in line with the smell. Sweet and malty, caramel, raisins, grape and once the alcohol hits maybe a bit of a rum flavor. Then there is a slight hop bite on the back end that is dry.
Feel: The feel is not too light at all. It is smooth and milky with alot of fast carbonation. A ton of tiny bubbles.
Overall: This is pretty much my definition of a good Scotch ale. I haven't had any that I like better than this one. I bought a six pack of this at the Giant Eagle in Homestead and it turned out to have gone bad. It didn't have any dates on it and I wondered why. I tried to get my money back and the lady at Giant Eagle customer service told me she couldn't give me anything for it because of P.A. liqour laws. I am pretty sure this is a load of horse manure. Anyways, I emailed the people at Erie Brewing and they fixed my up really nicely. They said Ken from Vecenie distributers would like to give me a new six pack in exchange for my skanked sixer. They did so and the new six pack had the some old taste I have come to know and love. It just goes to show Erie Brewing is good for their word and will mend any problems related to their product. Faith restored, Cheers,


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Photo of Jon_Hendricks
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber color.

Overall: Railbender is a strong Scottish style ale. It has a taste of a deep malt flavor with a caramel sweetness but finishes with a soft hop flavor. This is a good smooth beer that is worth a try.

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Photo of NolaHopHead
3.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle. Filtered bright amber, only slight haze. Thin head totally disappears totally. Sweet malt aroma. Caramel malt sweetness fills the taste, but not as sweet as I was expecting, which is good. Medium to heavy mouthfeel and low carbonation. Solid Scottish ale.

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Photo of TheBeerMaster1
2.54/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I won't lie the label first hand annoyed me. Nothing about it tells you it's a Scottish, nor did it tell you a mini synopsis of what you were diving into, but I digress. The beer was just as boring as well. It reminded me of a very low end diet version of Bells Amber ale, with some nutty and malty undertones. Also had a sweetener like kick to it, with a lot of unimpressive flavors floating around. Just didn't do it for me.

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Photo of lwillitz
3.71/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12-oz bottle into Samuel Smith nonic

A - thin cream-colored head over a body of cloudy copper

S - caramel and bready malt

T - caramel sweetness, bread, nuts, touch of earthy bitterness, dark fruits, balanced finish

M - creamy medium body, medium/high carbonation

O - Railbender is decent. Pleasantly complex in flavor, but a little light in mouthfeel.

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Photo of October
3.11/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Pretty weak malt flavors with some caramel notes. A smooth mouthfeel is the main redeeming quality here. it is likely that I need more time to adjust to this style. Will definitely revisit in the future.

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Photo of mkh012
3.85/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A well-balanced, complex beer. I get light toffee and nuttiness on the nose, and the taste largely follows. I taste caramel, roasted peanuts, and very subtle hop notes. Overall, the flavors remind me a bit of a brown ale. The finish is milky and smooth. A bit thin but in a good way- easy drinking for almost 7% ABV. The flavors are subtle but work well together.

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Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into snifter, no bottle dating. Pours lightly hazy/cloudy deep orange/copper color with a 1 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of raisin, plum, apple, caramel, toffee, toast, biscuit, brown sugar, nuttiness, light smoke, herbal, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Nice aromas with good complexity and solid balance of fruity/earthy yeast and dark/bready malt notes; with good strength. A bit too fruity in the nose. Taste of caramel, toffee, toast, biscuit, brown sugar, plum, apple, light nuttiness, light smoke, light herbal, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Minimal earthy herbal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toffee, toast, biscuit, brown sugar, plum, apple, light nuttiness/smoke, and yeast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt and light-moderate fruity/earthy yeast flavors; with zero cloying flavors present after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth, moderately creamy, and lightly bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice Scottish ale style. All around good robustness, balance, and complexity of dark/bready malt and light-moderate fruity/earthy yeast flavors; and very smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.11/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Undated bottle at 45 degrees into tulip
Aroma very weak malt
Head small (2 cm, aggressive pour), off white, frothy, rapidly diminishing to 2 mm ring and layer
Lacing good – narrow complete ring of tiny bubbles
Body orange, clear; filled with very tiny suspended material
Flavor – not much. Weak malt; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, a little too watery to be creamy and a little too creamy to be watery, soft carbonation

Appearance 3.5, Aroma 3, Flavor 3, Palate 3.25, Overall 3.25

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Photo of misternebbie
3.93/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I love this one, any its petty easy to get in my area, loads of flavor caramel and sugar, strong hints of toasty bread, I love Scotch Ales and this one goes down very nicely

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.98/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Having had this fantastic Scottish ale in bottle form, the tap version is just as good if not better. Pours a deep amber with light quickly dissipating head that leaves light white lacing. Smell of caramel, toffee, fresh biscuit, with a light peat smell. Taste is excellent with rich caramel malts and peat malt shinning through. Silky smooth mouthfeel, refreshing for a beer coming in at a higher ABV. Light toffee taste in the back with caramel malts and almost zero bittering hops. Excellent as always and one I would suggest to turn newbie beer lovers onto as well as the experienced beer nut. Cheers.

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Railbender Ale from Erie Brewing Co.
3.61 out of 5 based on 788 ratings.
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