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 alucardswordlol
4.45/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Last beer I had after the Erie samples. This and the Crude are their two best.

Appearance - Really fits the style, heavy amber hues and a nice light head. Wee bit hazy.

Smell - The smell is definitely muted compared to the taste. Mild toffee and caramel hints to the sweetness in the beer.

Taste - Drank plenty of Scotch ales back home in Glasgow and this is quite good. Very silky with how the toffee, caramel, and biscuity flavours come together. You would never know it is 7%. Unlike other scotch ales there is no heat and I like the absence of hops in the flavor.

Mouthfeel - Quite light, even for a scotch ale. Only adds to its drinkability and the carbonation was perfect.

Overall - Very good interpretation of the style. The flavors and body make this one of the most drinkable malty beers on the market.

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Photo of Minkybut
2.93/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

I poured this beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. This was a hard beer to rate. I had one the night before and rated it YUK. I had two more to drink and liked them, so I guess I got a bad one and for that reason had to do a split decision here. The beer looked like gas, poured a weak head that was tan. The beer smelled sour the first one and tasted sour. Next two next night did not. I uess I would try it again.

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Photo of hoptualBrew
4.05/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Light copper, clear as glass, off white head and descent lacing.

Aroma is interesting; sweet toffee, healthy dose of leather, mild dark fruit, touch caramel.

On the palate, the leather character is absent, but the rest of the aroma descriptors come through. Mostly a light to moderate toffee sweetness and mineral profile.

Light medium body, good carbonation, and smooth.

Overall, this is a good example of a Scottish ale. The sweet toffee and mineral characters are great, while the beer is light enough to drink in droves. The only detractor for me was the leather like quality in the aroma.

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Photo of rangerred
3.21/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a nearly clear dark copper with a one finger off-white head. Very good head retention and quite impressive globs of lace clinging to the sides of the glass.

The aroma is caramel, toffee and more caramel and toffee. There is a very slight hint of hay in there but overall, it is quite one dimensionale with not a lot going on.

The flavor continues along the same path of the nose with toffee and caramel and not much else. This is lacking the smokiness that is typical of so many scottish ales and also lacks any real hop flavor. The saving grace, however, is the insanely high drinkability for a style that is not neccesarilly known for this trait. Sweetness is very low with alcohol completely hidden and a soft, smooth mouthfeel.

Overall, what this lacks in flavor it makes up for in drinkability. Not something I would really pick up again but a pleasure to drink the one I had.

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

Perhaps my favorite of Erie Brewing's repetoire ... a take on Scotch Ale minus some of the candy sweet-ness that one finds in the real-deal Scotch Ales but , good enough , given the price ... As the B.A. Bros. state "beware of its drinkability." Yes, I concur .
Strong but , I consider it a session brew ... ideally, when you've got some cheese and meats around for buffering the stomach and not getting too warped ...

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Photo of nukem5
3.69/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A: Poured into my mug and was slightly cloudy nice thin layer of foam on top even with an aggressive pour very little head.

S: Aroma is of sweet malts with a cereal scent along with a bread dough smell.

T: Taste is of sweet malts with light hop and carmel flavor.

M: Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a decent carbonation and no lacing.

O: Overall a great beer and one of my favorite offering from Erie Brewing, will always seek this out when the goal is to "Get Bent", thanks to the crew at Erie for a lways doing a great job.

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Photo of tviz33
3.53/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

A- Pours a quickly rising three finger light tan head over top of a translucent amber body with lots of carbonation bubbles floating around. Head retention is great, but not much lacing.

S- The aroma is much different than anything I've ever smelled and had an odd nutty-fruity combination of smells that I can't put my finger on.

T- Again, this tastes different than anything I've ever had as well. Subtle and sweet fruit flavors accompany some malt flavor in an otherwise unique blend of flavors. A bitter finish lingers for a bit then dissipates.

M- The feel is quite thin with adequate carbonation and a touch of alcohol warming at the end.

O- I didn't know what to expect with this one, but it sure did surprise me. Not my favorite brew, but not offensive.

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Photo of lsummers
3.63/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a two finger off white head that dissipates rather quickly. Leaves a touch of lace.

Smells of caramel toffee, very sweet, and fruity cherry

Taste is very unique, the toffee caramel apple cherry flavors really come through. There's a slight touch of hoppy fruit there on the end.

Mouthfeel makes me think this beer is only 5% not 6.8%. It's a little bubbly and I wouldn't mind it being a little more sticky feeling for how sweet it tastes.

Overall this is a very nice beer, I might not need to try this on tap however and I doubt I will ever buy a case. It's a definite try though since I could see some finding this beer fantastic.

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Photo of chinchill
3.41/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

undated 12 oz bottle served in a Laughing Skull pint glass. Some sediment in the bottom of the bottle -- added mid-tasting.

Pours a deep amber with a moderate off-white head that has limited retention and only leaves a small ring of lacing on the glass.

The smell is malt, with hints of musty earth, floral soap, peat and a trace of smoke. The taste is better, with more toasted malt, no mustiness, and some caramel and nut flavors.

M: enough carbonation to impart some crispness; somewhat smooth; slight dryness in finish; body is too thin and watery for style.

O: a decent brew, despite the poor nose. Higher ABV evident in feel but not the flavor or aroma.

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Photo of BuckeyeSlim
2.7/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a NB snifter.

A - Pours a light golden color into the glass. Almost no head of loose almost-white foam quickly disappeared into just a hint of lace on the surface. Beer is rather cloudy and a light apricot-orange when held to a full-spectrum light.

S - Freshly, lightly toasted malts. Caramel, with hints of butterscotch and lighter dried fruit, like apricots, and a touch of orange marmalade. Alcohol pushes its way into the nose. Overall, a soft nose.

T - Taste is rather muted. Light whole-grain bread and lightly toasted malts. Caramels appear as it warms in the glass. Touches of a tangerine/apricot Jolly Rancher. It seems to want to be a bigger beer, but the taste profile is really turned down and washed out.

M - Somewhat fizzy. Certainly more carbonation than the pour suggests. Rather crisp. Structure is on the lighter side and a bit thin. Almost no finish to speak of, but what's there is rather dry - it looks like most of the sugars went toward pushing the ABV up.

O - The flavor profile of this beer has promise, but everything about it is so muted and soft, except, perhaps the ABV, that it seems a shadow of what it could have been. It's inoffensive, and definitely not at all hoppy, so it might be an acceptable introduction for someone wanting to move up from BMC and see what the craft fuss is about, but a more experience pallate is likely to find it wanting. It's classified as a Scotch ale, but it strikes me as recipe that started out as a slightly flavored wheat beer, and when they went to brew they discovered they were out of wheat, so they used golden toasted malts instead. Once this six-pack is gone, I can't imagine buying this one again.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.72/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into pint glass

Appearance – Pours a lightly hazed amber copper color with a one finger off white head. The head faded relatively fast to leave a good level of lacing.

Smell – The aroma was heavy of malt and sweet caramel and butterscotch. Mixed with these were lighter aromas of a nuttiness as well as some faint fruit aromas.

Taste – The taste begins very malty with some lighter butterscotch sweetness. As the flavor advances some sweeter tastes of caramel, citrus and a light dark fruit flavor enter the taste. While more sweetness comes to the tongue, it is still on the tamer side in comparison to many Scottish ales. More toward the end some alcohol comes to the tongue as well as a bitter earthy flavor. These flavors when mixed with the alcohol create a malty, slightly bitter, and warming flavor on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the slightly more chewy side with a carbonation level that is on the medium to high side. The chewiness is nice for the style and the flavors, but the carbonation level is a little too high and takes away from the overall feel by keeping all the malty flavors from really soaking into the tongue.

Overall – Not too over the top (too sweet or too boozy) like some Scottish ales, but yet has a very nice flavor. The only thing taking it down some was a poor feel due to the high carbonation. Worth a try though if you get a chance.

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Photo of metter98
3.6/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: The beer is hazy coppery orange in color and has a light amount of carbonation along with some fine particles visible floating in suspension. It poured with a thin beige head that died down, leaving some lacing on the surface and a thin collar around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of caramel and butterscotch malts in the nose—these become stronger as the beer warms up.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and very malty but the caramel flavors are much more pronounced.
M: It feels medium-bodied and slightly sticky on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is a good representation of the style and isn’t that difficult to drink, especially since the alcohol is well hidden from the taste.

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Photo of JacobJustus1
3.77/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into an average drinking glass (No beer mug available atm).

A: Lighter that I was expecting. Decent head, amber color is mostly clear.

S: Bready pale malts at first, some fruity notes peek through. A little spice in there too. Not a huge nose, but this could be due to it being pretty cold.

T: Crisp hops hit the tongue, then malts, with a solid bready, light caramel taste. Sweet malts, and grains. After a few tastes, I am definitely getting a lot of apple on this one. Not totally overpowering, but very present. Quite sweet. I am tasting some a mild woody taste as well. It's definitely on the sweeter side of things, but very quaffable.

Finishes dry, with some woody, herbal, grainy, and apple aftertaste.

M: The carbonation and light but assertive fizzy-ness does complement the flavors. I don't know how I'd like it without that carbonation.

O: This would pair nice with food. I agree with the person who said that this could be given to Macro-drinkers. It is a pleasant beer, but at 6.8%ABV, I wouldn't want more than one. I probably will not be returning to this beer soon, but it is a good effort, and it would pair good with food.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.3/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz Bottle from the Potsdam NY IGA for 2.50$

Appearance - Mostly clear copper colour with an average size fizzy beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation and there is some decent lacing. The head lasted for around 2-3 minutes.

Smell - Malts, butterscotch/caramel, hops

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste light hops, malts, and butterscotch/caramel. There is some dark fruit notes and a grassiness/earthiness. It ends with a slightly bitter malty aftertaste.

Overall - Not so good.. I mean it's okay but really nothing that I'd want to drink again. It's got a lot of malty earthy notes, so if that's your thing then check this beer out. I wish I would have bought a vibrant IPA instead.

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

12 oz into flying dog chalice. no bottled on date.

A: solid orange. white bubbly head. good retention, not great lacing.

S: sweet caramel. trying to figure out if i am getting a slight wisp of smoke or not... dry oatmeal.

T: very sweet and very fruity. caramel, oats, cereal. lots of cereal. hoppy, but w/out being overbearing, not in the slightest.

M: absolutely average carbonation on a medium/full body.

D: pretty solid scottish ale. sort of interesting to see a beer that has won gold at GABF have a mortal rating on BA....

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Photo of cpolking
3.95/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to tone77 for this beer.

The beer pours a deep copper and amber in color with an inch of thick and creamy head. The foam is off-white in color.

The aroma is malty, caramel, somewhat nutty, fruity, like apples and plums cooked with just a hint of cinnamon or cloves. It smells more like a nice malty Oktoberfest beer than a Scottish ale.

The taste is deeply malty, caramel, roasted, toasted, nutty, with just the whisper of a hint of peat smoke. The taste is more like a Scottish ale than the aroma, but in the end it drinks more like an excellent Oktoberfest.

So, if you like a nice malty beer, definitely give this a try. But if your heart is set on the "typical" Scottish ale, you might end up disappointed.

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Photo of chickenflea
2.73/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured an almost clear ice tea color with a small fizzy off-white head. Fruity malt aroma with a touch apple vinegar and spice. Not at all what I expected from a Scottish ale. The taste is equally conflicted. Big sour front end moderating into a malty midlife and finishing off fruity sour apple peel bitterness. Light-medium body with a lively mouthfeel. Tangy. I liked it, but it was unusual and not at all what I expected for a Scottish ale. I downgraded it for missing the mark for its style. I upgraded the overall score because I liked the beer even though it tasted more like a bier de mars or a farmhouse.

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Photo of B967ierhunter177
4.04/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a bold, clear copper with minimal foam and no lacing. The aroma is complex with caramel, roasted malt, fruit, and nuts. The flavor is also very complex with mild grapefruit to start followed through with bread crust, toffee, roasted nuts, ginger, and a hint of smoke. There's a mild hop snap in the finish. It's mouthfeel is medium. Erie Railbender Ale is a good brew, complex, and very drinkable. Recommended!

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Photo of tjsmith910
3.38/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark deep hazy orange with an off white 1.5 finger head. Very tasty and full of flavor. very much on the malty side with a hint of hops. not to heavy and not over powering with food such as burgers and hot dogs. well rounded overall and worth every penny of the price.

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Photo of match1112
3.18/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

a: inch and a half of off white, thick and creamy head sits atop a dark copper body.

s: yeasty pizza dough. light fruit aromas as well.

t: yeasty bread/ dough. not much malts or hops. backend has a apple and grape taste to it.

m: kinda thin, decent carbonation. weird aftertaste,kinda metallic.

o: dont think i'll try this again. the aftertaste turns me off. other than that its not a bad beer.

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Photo of WanderingFool
3.76/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Railbender Ale pours a clear copper color with a small creamy head on top. The foam settles down to a ring around the beer leaving behind a few spots and lines of lace on the glass.

The aroma is faint with light fruit (white grape?) and pale malt notes.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is creamy with mild carbonation. The flavor is malty with crisp notes of toasted malt and light fruit (white grape again) notes. A little honey and pepper notes towards the end. It finishes dry with lingering malt and fruit notes when gone.

This is a tasty, easy drinking beer. Would go great with a bbq.

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Photo of VncentLIFE
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not real sure exactly what style this thing is. The first thing i notice is the spicy nature. Its definitely got the spicy rye base going on. It smells and tastes like a good rye beer. Then I get hints of Belgian yeasty esters as well. I get hints of cereal grains as well. Very complex, smooth, and drinkable for what it looks like.

God bless stumbling into this thing at an Applebees off of St Rt 2 in Sandusky, OH!

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.77/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - Very hazy, copper brew with a moderate head and no lacing.

S - Potent concord grapes are accompanied by fainter malt and hay.

T - Slight honey sweetness, a bit of red grape skins and malt. Aftertaste is a malty bitterness bordering on medicinal.

M - Thin, smooth, a little refreshing.

D - Meh. Nowhere is it great - or even very good. It doesn't seem overly scottish to me either. I don't think I'll buy this six pack again.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.57/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a 12 oz. bottle. Shows a clear copper on the pour with a thin cap. Retention is a bit too swift however.

Bit of smoked malts on the nose, coming as a bit of a surprise for the light colored pour. Offers a neutral graininess and a light hop presence initially, expanding with warming to add a touch of lager like oktoberfest caramel to the mix.

Flavors of lemon bread and light grains along with some orangey caramel notes. Seems a bit artificial in nature and has an odd 'bitterness' on the close. Feel is moderate but the finish detracts a bit given the additive type flavor profile. Overall the finish has a sweet component but is really rather dry and a bit chalky in nature. A rather light bodied Scotch Ale which still manages to mask its might with ease.

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Photo of DaveBlack
4.12/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A coppery colored brew with maybe a 1/2 finger of white head that has relatively short retention and only has a little bit of lacing.

S: Big aroma on this beer. Lots of sweet malts are up front bringing a huge amount of caramel notes, with a nice bready, yeasty backbone. Really a rich, full-smelling beer.

T: Not nearly as sweet as I had feared from the aroma. A fair amount of nuttiness comes through with the original caramel malt push, followed by a yeasty flavor and some dark fruits. The finish is sweet, with a little bit of bitterness to keep it from being cloying.

M: Medium bodied and light on the carbonation. This beer is creamy and slightly sticky.

O: Not a flawless beer, but a darn good one. Lots of malt flavors and aromas, and well balanced. It hides its 6.8% well, so I could see this being rather dangerous.

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