Railbender Ale | Erie Brewing Co.

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Railbender AleRailbender Ale
808 Ratings
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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Ratings: 808 |  Reviews: 339
Photo of mhpalmer
3.94/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.66/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

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Photo of cbutova
3.31/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

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Photo of rfgetz
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

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Photo of Lauthaha
3.65/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of sixerofelixir
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

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Photo of smcolw
3.97/5  rDev +8.8%
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.

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Photo of dstc
4/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

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Photo of assmandugle
4/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

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Photo of beer2day
3.32/5  rDev -9%
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.

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Photo of mikeg67
3.42/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

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Photo of tigg924
3.72/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

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Photo of jman42
3.76/5  rDev +3%
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.

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Photo of tjsdomer2
3.87/5  rDev +6%
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.

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Photo of MuddyMcGinny
4.15/5  rDev +13.7%
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.

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Photo of elinash
3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber colored hue with light head, disappearing quickly. Medium to light bodied for a scotch ale. Comparatively less dense than Old Chub or Belhaven. A very flavorful session/ pub beer. Warming with spices and slight roasted flavors up front. It's chestnut season, so maybe I'm reading into it...but there's a nuttiness in there. Nice lingering spicy finish. Perfect for late fall/ winter.

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Photo of LiquidBread219
4.12/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A= Nice amber in color that had a little foamy white head that left some pretty good lacing.

S= To me it smelled a little like raisins, fruity, and a nice carmel malty backbone in this one.

T= To me it tasted pretty good the raisins made it where the malty backbone wasn't to overpowering.

M= I would say this is more of a full bodied beer.

D= Very nice beer from this brewery. Very Drinkable could have a few of these no problem..

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Photo of gestyr
3.97/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a red/orange/amber color with a slight chill haze that disappears when the beer warms. Small white head that goes away quickly but leaves lacing.

S:Malt, raisins, molasses, fruity, caramel

T: Nice and malty. A lot of caramel flavor followed by the dark fruit and then a touch of molasses. Very little hop flavor and just enough bitterness to keep the sweetness from being cloying.

M: Medium to full. Lightly carbonated.

D: Very drinkable. Overall a nice example of Scottish ale. I will buy this again.

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Photo of pvsob
3.97/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Crystal clear copper color with basically no head. There is a very minuscule film, but little to no lacing. A few legs on the side of the pint glass are present.

S- Caramel, toffee, bread crust, light pancake syrup, hints of raisins, and some herbal aromas from the hops. Very little alcohol aroma.

T- Starts off with lots of sweet malt flavor, but a nice herbal bitterness comes through and keeps it from becoming to sweet. There's some spiciness from the alcohol and hops in the end as well as a nice malt flavor after the swallow. This brew has a nice dry finish.

M- Medium to full feel. Not quite thick, but very smooth and sticky. Low level of carbonation.

D/O- As Scottish Ales go, this is a good example. Alcohol levels in the aroma/taste areas are well hidden, which gives this beer high drinkability. If you're in the mood for a nice malt centered ale, give this one a go. Cheers.

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Photo of chefhatt
4.5/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really like this beer. The appearance is cooper color with not a a lot of white head to it, but leaves a thin lace around the rim of the body. The smell is very inviting of sweet malts and a hint of hops and a little bit of fruit. The taste is outstanding of sweet cherries and a little bit of hops. The mouth feel is very smooth and is very drinkable.

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Photo of JRed
4.05/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours clear red with white bubbly head. Smells of alcohol, molasses, maple, and vanilla. Tastes of maple, raspberry, slight booze, vanilla, and some dark cherries. Medium bodied with light carbonation and a thick on the palate feel that slicks the tongue. From dark fruit to molasses to booze, this scottish ale hits all targets.

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Photo of stonelis
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was an all around decent beer. Very sweet, Very malty. Not quite a Scottish ale, In my opinion maybe closer to a Dopplebock, Easy to drink. I wouldn't mind drinking more of these although it's nothing special but it still works for me. The price was right too!

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Photo of rebel1771
4.3/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark reddish brown color clouded with yeast. Not much head even with a vigorous pour.

S: Sweet malt aroma of candied raisins along with a touch of molasses.

T: Mellow sweet flavor of sweetbread with raisins along a dose of smoke. Very drinkable.

D: Much more balanced than what I expected, very mellow and at 6.8% AVB dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.2/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer review from BA Mag Dec 2007.

A bit surprising to see a year-round Old Ale--surprising in a good way as most brewers use this style for one-offs or winter seasonals.

Decent foaming action from a medium pour, the head does dissipate to a thin lacing but still sticks to the glass. Clarity is a touch hazy but it's more of a temporary chill haze as it does become completely clear when the beer warms up. Big caramel toffee note in the front of the house, smells a little bit like taffy but the faint alcohol and bready grain brings the aroma down to beerdom. Very smooth with a creamy mouthfeel, malt flavor comes across as very pleasing right from the start.

Fresh-baked bread with caramel tones, a little nutty and a faint husky note in the back. Hops drop a little bit of bitterness and a kiss of herbal flavor. Fruitiness is kept to a minimum with a trace, dried plum flavor. Finishes semisweet with a long lingering malt flavor on the palate.

This beer is just more proof that great beer comes from PA. Beware of its drinkability.

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Photo of yesyouam
2.09/5  rDev -42.7%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Erie Railbender Ale is very clear and brown with a white head that quickly vanishes. It has an odd aroma, with notes of fusel, spoiled fruit, resin and cardboard. It's medium-full bodied and pretty smooth with a slightly ragged finish. It tastes better than it smells, but it's a very boozy flavor and fusel is present. There is a slight sweetness, like sorghum, with notes of wood resin and chocolate. There is an herbal bitterness at the finish. This stuff burns all the way down.

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Railbender Ale from Erie Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.65 out of 5 with 808 ratings