Railbender Ale | Erie Brewing Co.

796 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: 796 |  Reviews: 336
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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of elinash
3.68/5  rDev +1.9%
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 +14.1%
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 +10%
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 +10%
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 +24.7%
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 +12.2%
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 +10.8%
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 +19.1%
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 +16.3%
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 -42.1%
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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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.58/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Aroma is crisp, more fruity than malty, and just a bit sweet. It pours a nice dark orange amber with a rather persistent off-white head. Flavor is malty and somewhat spicy, mainly cinnamon, with a fruity hint. Texture is quite fizzy and tingly, lively and sassy.

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

Beer pours dark reddish-brown with some white frothy head.

Aroma of lightly of vanilla and toffee.

This beer has a nice round malty flavor. A perfect vacation from the hop-crazed beer world. The flavor is rich and smooth.

This is a nice drinkable ale and a great deal for the price. It is not a top notch beer but it is excellent for the price. I will buy it again.

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Photo of BigIrishman
3.58/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours ruby red with small soapy head and leaves little head.

Smell: Not much aroma on here, what's there is a grainy sweet malt with hints of a peaty grassy backbone. As it warms it brings out a bit of a smokey mapley undertone.

Taste: A big malty burst of flavor, not expectef with such a small nose. There's some caramel and vanilla coming through along with a warming alcohol burst. Thee flavor is fairly classic scotish ale, with a bit less complexity.

Mouthfeel: Slimy and heavy with little pop from carbonation.

Drinkability: The sweetness wears on you over time, but overall this brew is pretty decent.

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

I think Erie Brewing Co. is a new arrival in Florida: I've never seen there beers down here before.

Pours a deep, deep red in color without much of a head.

The very nice aroma is of caramel, toffee, even maple syrup. It's complex and good.

The caramelized malt aroma carries over to the taste. Good flavors that remind me of pancakes and waffles without the syrup. Malty goodness.

Substantial body.

Overall a good and malty beer.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This was recommended to me by a co-worker telling me it was a damn fine brew back in the day.
A - Semi dark amber with a ton of head (almost overflowing) in the glass that faded slowly.
S - Mostly caramel and bread malt with very little hop whiff in the nose. Kind of boring...
T - Actually sweeter than expected for around 7 percent! Caramel malts dominate followed by slight bready background that finishes very wet.
M - Actually very medium bodied and drinkable.
D - Well I could easily see finishing a sixer despite of the ABV but the boring on dimensional sweetness would get tiresome. If I see this in a variety case it would not "derail" me from buying it!

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

Pours a clear amber/orange. Aggressive pour yields a decent tan foam, okay retention.

Aroma is very sweet, malty and caramel-y.

Taste is very sweet, with the caramel malts providing most of the flavor profile. Not much else. Somewhat one-dimensional

Mouthfeel is medium, drinkability is okay. Just a bit boring, but a good offering, nonetheless.

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Photo of BeerCon5
3.03/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours an amber color with about one finger of fluffy slightly off white head that really didn't last long.

The scent was of mostly roasted malts, not much else was noticeable.

The taste was of sweet caramel malts, some light hops, some yeast and a bit of spice, also a bit watery.

Light bodied, very crisp and a bit too thin, moderate carbonation.

This was an ok beer, very easy to drink but there wasn't as much flavor as I would have expected. I might give it another shot if there is nothing else interesting around but otherwise not something I will look for.

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

Live review of a beer I've been drinking for more than a dozen years. Can't believe I haven't reviewed it before this. This bottle was a free sample given out at the end of this year's BrewErie Micro Brew fest, which Erie Brewing attended. Nice of them to pass out a free bottle, something they started doing last year.

Poured into my SA glass out of the fridge, I get about a half inch of light parchment colored head, which disipates quickly enough to a very thin cap. Some lacing develops as we drink and on the swirl.

The nose is caramel malty, kind of like a bock or doppelbock. No noticeable hop presence, which I guess is okay if this is a Scottish ale (which at this point I'm not at all certain about).

Taste is malty too, with just a hint of grassy/pine hops way in the background. I don't know what the IBUs are of this ale, but I'd have to guess around 20 at best. Nothing really remarkable in the flavor; nothing objectionable either. We'll just say caramel malt dominates and leave it at that. Carbonation is above 2 volumes, and keeps the mouthfeel at a pleasant medium. A slight note of fusel alcohol as the beer is warming. Not really objectionable, but detectable (warming in the belly too). I'll have to give a better than average mark to drinkability, as I can remember buying this by the case since about '96. I remember back then that I thought the 6.8% abv was incredibly high. I told my friend you could see vapors coming off the top of the glass. Well, that was then, prior to having beers over 20% abv. Even at 6.8%, I can remember doing 3 or 4 bottles in a session, so, yeah, the drinkability is decent.

PA. has some incredible breweries that are top notch (Victory, Weyerbacher, Stoudts, Voodoo and Troegs come to mind). Unfortunately, Erie Brewing still hasn't cracked that level in their offerings. They are what I refer to as a "2nd tier" brewery, making some real decent and drinkable beers. Will Railbender "knock your socks off?" No, but you'll probably find it decent enough. If you have the chance, its worth a try .. really.

Na Zdravje!

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Photo of CHickman
3.2/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours brown in color with a small white head, with little to no lacing.

Smells or sweet roasted malts and faint caramel.

Tastes sweet and malty, with a smoky flavor, lemon, faint hops, caramel, coffee or chocolate malt hints, brown sugar and bitter grains. The overall taste is malty with a dry grainy, earthy finish.

The mouthfeel is light, crisp, on the smooth side, with burnt wood notes and very high/light carbonation.

Overall a decent beer, but not one that I would seek out. It bordered on being boring.

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Photo of Turbansurfer
2.43/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I really saddens me to dump on the flagship beer of my hometown brewery; but alas it is not near one of my favorites.

A very strong ale.
Dark red to brown in color.
there is almost never a head on this brew- which is always disappointing.
The malts totally over power both the beginning and finish of this beer.
Historically batches have not been overly consistent - but there is evidence that that has improved over the past few years.
The taste is not complex- some bitters but overall is just kinda blaaaa
No evidence of hops in my estimation as the beer is soooo malty.

the positives are it is a nice color, it is not very expensive, and it will quickly do the trick if catching a buzz is your goal.

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Photo of Stunner97
4.12/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- dark brown with a slightly amber red tint, murky and cloudy with good amount going on in this brewsky, pours with foam white head that quickly fades to white lacing,

Smell- very powerful sweet malty flavor, raisons, rum, and whiskey, overall very candied carmel and sweet malt dominated nose, yummy

Taste- very overall malt dominated flavor that not super cloying with a little bit of dryness at the end which ever so slightly keeps the super malty beer in check, flavor is enjoyable as the fact its sweet would hide many of its flaws, nice finish

Mouthfeel- medium bodied with a nice crisp enoyable feel

Drinkability- actually very drinkable, like this alot more then some of there beers I have had in the past this is a sweet beer but still not overally cloying, good fun beer, not world changing but not bad at all

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

nice amber hue,not much lacing or head retention.sweet caramel,slight floral hop aroma,somewhat nutty. taste is of caramel covered fruit,slight toasted biscuit flavor,bit of bitterness near the finish,has a lingering delicate floral/herbal hop flavor.a little bit less than medium bodied,overall pretty good.

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Railbender Ale from Erie Brewing Co.
3.61 out of 5 based on 796 ratings.
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