Railbender Ale | Erie Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
82
good
793 Ratings
Railbender AleRailbender Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Erie Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States
eriebrewingco.com

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
793
Reviews:
336
Avg:
3.61
pDev:
14.68%
 
 
Wants:
26
Gots:
127
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 793 |  Reviews: 336
Photo of Mancer
3.35/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The bottle poured out a cloudy copper orange body with a half finger high off-white head. The head slowly dissipated to a thin lace. The initial aromas were sweet with dark fruits, caramel malts, and barley.The initial flavors were of dark fruits, and a heavier hit of barley with some caramel to back it up. The beer had a light to medium body with light carbonation.

Overall this was a decent light beer. I can't say that I have had anything like it, but I wasn't blown away either.

 485 characters

Photo of hwy61mb
3.78/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to svendryden for this one. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass. No date on bottle.

This poured an amber-honey color, slightly cloudy, with a decent initial head. The head quickly subsided and left very little lacing. The smell was faint, but characteristics included sweet, malty, and a little fruity.

This tastes similar to the smell. This is a mild beer. I am new to this type of beer and I like it. It reminds me a little of an Irish ale. This is light in the mouth and nicely carbonated. I would call this very drinkable.

 544 characters

Photo of TheFightfan1
3.98/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Auburn in color with lighter yellow highlights. Thick ivory colored heading about an inch thick. A nice covering sticks around for a while. Decent lacing.

Smell is mostly of sweet caramel malts,heavily toasted and very earthy.

Taste is very much like the nose. Big sweet toasted caramel malts with thenice earthiness dwelling in the background until the last sip. Slight warmer boozy background does pop up towards the finish. The slightest of hop touch.

Mouth is extremely smooth,mid to full bodied, Great lively carbonationon on the tongue. Very smooth.

A very drinkable beer. I can't really see a damn thing wrong with this beer.

 636 characters

Photo of Bouleboubier
3.43/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Had this during a Scottish/Scotch ale tasting, which included 3 distinct, uncommon takes on the style - the other 2 being Ommegang's and Great Divide's entries)

Not at all what I think of when I think Scottish Ale (or Scotch Ale, if you know the difference). Can't recall many if any beers in the style that sports such a prominent caramel character. A LOT of caramel. My immediate reference for this is the ultra caramel, husky-bodied beers of Gouden Carolus.

Very hazy/murky multi-toned tawny-ish color. Ample head on pour and it sticks around for a good bit. "Wet dog" is one thing that comes to mind with the smell. Caramel is dense here as well - yeast in combo with the malts? Getting some faint hops and muffinesque notes, too. Dark caramel and muffin dominate the flavor with light-moderate sweetness. Too thick, too chewy body - not quite viscous. High mash temp? Drops off a surprising degree in the finish therefore having an almost lightweight, clean feel. Alas, the Carolus (classic) comparison I cannot escape. Try it yourself, maybe I'm way off.

Interested to try this again in the future I think. But I can't say it compares favorably within the style considering my fondness, experience, and criterion with this style.

 1,239 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.83/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap 2/7/2011 at Track 84, in Warwick, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, vanilla, some fruit and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel, vanilla and a little bit of fruit. The malt character is hearty and the hops presence is mild but it creates a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, this is a decent beer worth drinking for a while.

 720 characters

Photo of larryi86
3.8/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- Clear red color with a one finger caramel colored head.

S- Sweet, sweet malts, caramel, toffee, some bread, and a hint of dark fruits.

T- Surprisingly weak, after smelling the beer, but it still does have flavor. Caramel and toffee malts hit up front and on the sides with a nice hint of hops in the finish. Seem to be missing a lot of flavor in the middle, minimal backbone.

M- Smooth, medium body.

D- This is a good beer, but I feel it it could be better. I think that the taste could be much bigger, but it is still very drinkable and enjoyable. My cousin had been really hyping up this beer and I finally tried and it didn't live up to his hype, but I still really enjoyed it.

 723 characters

Photo of Dodo2step
4.09/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

P- Thanks to Jim in Pittsburgh

A-not much head and non lace stick. a mahogany/red color of the beer that is quite clear and nice color.

S- bready, malty, plum and toasted nut.

T- molasses and a chewy bready nuttiness.

M- medium bodied and creamy.

D- a decent brew and really a nice scottish ale. I am not a big scottish ale fan but this is drinkable for me.

 362 characters

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

Pours a tarnished copper penny color. There is about an inch of bubbly, khaki colored head. The head quickly falls to a loose bubbly ring and patch that leaves no lacing.

I smell caramel, toffee, bread, dough, toasted nuts, and prunes. It reminds me of sticky buns.

Like the nose the flavors are sweet. I taste caramel, molasses, bread dough, walnut, prune, and raisin. Though its fresh, it has a slightly oxidized flavor.

Medium body with minimal carbonation. This beer just lays on my tongue.

A lackluster beer that goes down smooth.

 539 characters

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

Consumed 1/5
Poured in to a pint glass

A: This beer pours a clear reddish, brown with a one finger of light khaki sudsy head. Head recedes at a moderate pace. Not much lacing to speak of.

S: Nose is very malty. Caramel, toffee, molasses hits first. A bit of breadiness also sneaks in.

T: Taste starts with a good deal of caramel and toffee malt sweetness. A toasted, nutty character mingled with molasses comes through in the middle. FInish has a fruity, light hop note.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, smooth with a bit of a chewy finish.

D: Goes down easy, pretty tasty, not too filling, mild kick, decent representation of style. I'm usually not a big fan of Scottish ales, but I could easily have a pint or two of this.

 734 characters

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

This local Scottish ale pours copper/amber in color. Some beers in this style have reddish hues, Railbender does not. One finger head has settled to a thin lace after just a few minutes. Little in way of head retention.

Smell is typical for the style. Bready...Malty...and rather mild. Nothing offensive, but nothing jumps out at you either.

Taste has all the desirables of a Scottish ale. Bready, malty, chewy, and smooth.

Medium to full bodied mouthfeel with a slight chewiness.

I could (and have) drank several of these.

Morey's Bottom Line: This beer is actually a great example of the style...it's just not my favorite style. Railbender is slightly higher in alcohol than other Scottish ales such as Jolly Scott and Brooklyn Winter just to name a couple. And it covers it up extremely well too.

I've had a version of this called Ryebender (which is simply Railbender brewed up with some Rye malt) and it brings this beer to another level IMO. They don't bottle it though. Draft only.

 997 characters

Photo of mhpalmer
3.94/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Having had other great beers from the Erie Brewing Company, I decided to give this Railbender Ale a try.

Appearance: Poured into a pint glass. Copper to light red in color. Head is pale with mostly very small bubbles interspersed with larger bubbles. Not a thick head at all, and it didn't last long either, but it did leave a nice ring around the edge.

Smell: Caramel, fresh baked bread, and a slight spiciness dominate the aroma. I'm not smelling a lot of hops, so I'm expecting a glass of thick malty goodness.

Taste: Biscuits! Bread! Brown butter. There is no discernible hop flavor. The alcohol gives a bit of a kick at the end. I'm tasting a bit of bitter citrus (grapefruit) that I will attribute to the hops (Cascade or Mt. Hood?). The aftertaste starts off grapefruit that morphs back to bread. Toward the end of the bottle I started to notice a very faint raspberry or blackberry note.

Mouthfeel: Not nearly as thick as I was expecting. I'd prefer a bit heavier of a beer for one with this much malt flavor. The alcohol is just right though, warming at the end of the taste.

Drinkability: The aftertaste lingers a bit too long for me to give this a better drinkability rating. Although the flavor is good, and the aftertaste isn't bad, I probably wouldn't want to have too many of these on my breath.

 1,315 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.66/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance - good-looking orange amber, a thin partial head of light cream looks headed for nils-ville at first, but this baby's holding up impressively!

Aroma - lightly smoky, peaty aroma. Distant though, not real strong.

Taste - malts are peaty with a pleasant smoky woodiness. Some grain toastiness in there too, hops are pretty light on this one. A mild abv breathiness on the swallow and aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - a little prickly but reasonably smooth with moderate carbonation and body.

Drinkability - this is a good session Scottish ale. Not too high on the hootch and tasty enough to enjoy several of.

 612 characters

Photo of cbutova
3.31/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Dark orange with a creamy white head that has good retention. Decent coat of lace consistently on the glass.

S- Dark fruit and caramel malt both come up front.

T- Has a fruit flavor that reminds me of those hard candies with the strawberry wrapper (syrup and dark, jam-like). Buttery and caramel malt in the finish. Slight alcohol and pine.

MF- Light body that is somewhat watery. Carbonation is fairly high and there is a light bitterness to this.

DB- This beer just tastes like the hard candy I mentioned above, almost exactly. It is not bad but not really what I was expecting.

 587 characters

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

Pours a nic elight copper with minimal head. Scent is malt forward - sweet, carmelly, bready and nutty. Taste brings the malt to the front, with the same profile as scent, a decent hop background also present but some sips seem muddled rather than coherent. Medium bodied, light carbonation. A decent ale, but nothing spectacular.

 330 characters

Photo of Lauthaha
3.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a brandy glass.

Appearance: Beer is a light burnt sienna or medium copper color with orange hues. Just a touch on the cloudy side. The head is off-white with a good consistency, after a few minutes it recedes to just a thin rim around the edge of the glass. No lacing at all.

Smell: Nice warm maltiness with a good amount of caramelization in the mix. Maybe a touch of some kind of floral hops or flower petals. Pretty good!

Taste/Mouthfeel: Seems light at first, crisp and clean, then the carbonation comes out; it's excellent here, lots of foaming action without being overbearing. Definitely some light maltiness and residual hop action. A touch buttery. Rinses clean with a decent aftertaste of mellow hops.

Drinkablilty: Good! It goes down smoothly and is at the very least worth a try. Not anything truly special, but it stands up to its predecessors.

Overall, this beer is just slightly above average. But for the price, I still consider it a bargain.

 998 characters

Photo of sixerofelixir
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Looks like a Julian date code is stamped under the front label..

Pours a mostly cloudy, burnt-orange. Thin off-white head. Smell is slight sweet breads, clean, and organic. Taste is moderately toasted, bready malts. Finishes with a grapefruit-like hops hops. Feels creamy and smooth. Drinkability above average. A decent, tasty brew that reminded me of a decent amber ale.

 387 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.97/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good start to the head, but settles to rim-based bubbles. Leaves no permanent lace. The color is a beautiful copper-amber and is crystal clear.

Light caramel sugar from what I believe to be lightly toasted crystal malt. Mild alcohol nose. Some molasses; no hop smell.

True to form, this has a malted sweetness that is warm to the swallow without an extreme alcohol bite. There is a faint hop pepper in the swallow. The aftertaste is short but creamy. Rich bodied as expected. Overall, this is an example of the style and very easy to drink.

 542 characters

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

Pours a slightly cloudy ruby brown color with a tan head. Head falls to a very small one. Little lace.

Aroma is of caramel malts with a mild hop background.

Sweet malts up front in the taste then gives way to a spicy hop flavor that lingers in the finish.

Medium bodied in the mouth with a slight bite.

Good enough and easy drinking. Would have again.

 359 characters

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

Pours a copper color. Scent is full of caramel and nut. Has a creamy white colored head. Has a nut flavor to it that goes down very smooth and has a wonderful caramel almost vanilla flavored after taste. Very good beer very drinkable. Has sort of a nutty after taste.

 267 characters

Photo of beer2day
3.32/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazy caramel pour with a hint of light cream head. Zero retention and lace.

Caramel malt nose with a big dusty note. A bit of sugar, almost like a cupcake.

Caramel malt with a hint of sweet fruit, mainly raisins, grapes, and pears. Earthy, herbal hops give this one a hint of the ESB style.

Feel is about right for the style. Slightly syrupy without being cloying.

Not one I'd choose again, but not a bad beer either.

 422 characters

Photo of mikeg67
3.42/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle. Pours copper amber in color with a thin, off-white, short lived head. Aroma of caramel, fruit and some brown sugar. Medium, smooth, slightly sweet body. Flavor of caramel, fruit with notes of earthy hops. Medium bitter-sweet finish. Pleasant, easy drinking, unremarkable ale.

 288 characters

Photo of tigg924
3.72/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: cloudy, orange/brown in color, 1/4 inch head, moderate carbonation

Smell: peat, caramel, and earth

Taste: strong caramel, earth, peat, and some florals

Mouthfeel: moderately sweet, light body, moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A really nice and malty Scotch ale. Nothing horribly out of the box, but a solid beer I could have a couple of.

 355 characters

Photo of jman42
3.76/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A = Nice amber color. Poured a nice off-white head, but it diminished rapidly. Fair lacing.

S = Nice malty smell with hints of caramel. Moderate hoppiness.

T = Nice taste - not nearly as strong tasting as I'd expect based on its ABV.

D = Went nicely with a roast chicken dinner. Would also be good sipping in front of the fire on a crisp autumn night.

 354 characters

Photo of tjsdomer2
3.87/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Rosy red with ok carbonation or lacing. Lacing is definitely better than anything else in this category.

Smell: Pine hops and caramel malt. Some spiced apple or dark fruit as well. Not sure exactly what, but there definitely is a fruity aspect to this beer. Maybe some smoke as well?

Taste/Mouthfeel: One of the oddest beers I've tried. It starts out kind of boring and flat. However, the complexity comes out later. Definitely a great sipper with somegood smokey qualities as well as some fruit, and caramel malt. I also get a good amount of pine hops as well. Pretty smooth with a nice alcoholic bite that comes out if you sip.

Drinkability: Would be better if it were a bit more consistent throughout.

Overall: A good, strange beer. See above.

 762 characters

Photo of MuddyMcGinny
4.15/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hard pour into a English nonic pint.

Amber deep red/orange color with a good two finger froth that hung around a bit. Smell of malt, molasses, caramel, and roasted barley. Bit o' nuts and spice. A little lighter than I had expected and real smooth. Very drinkable medium body. Just enough bitter to bring down the sweetness of the malt and caramel.

Scottish Ales can be a little tough to find so if it's cold outsude and you find a sixer or two of this puppy on the shelf grab 'em and start a fire! Great job by Erie here with their American version of a Scottish Ale.

 571 characters

Railbender Ale from Erie Brewing Co.
3.61 out of 5 based on 793 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.

    Learn More
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.

    Learn More
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Learn More