Railbender Ale | Erie Brewing Co.

794 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: 794 |  Reviews: 336
Photo of Pecorasc
3.56/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz capped bottle into an imperial pint. Bad ass looking train on the front, but no information offered about the beer at all, not even style.

Vigorous pour into glass created very little, quickly dissipating head. However, this beer is crystal clear and very nice looking. A polished golden/reddish amber. Looks a little thin in the glass, when swirled the beer barely sticks to the glass.

Aroma cdominated by lots of buttery diacetyl. A little deeper I found some spicy hops and carmel malts. Nothing too impressive, just reminds of a stick of butter.

Big improvement from aroma. The diacetyl plays a much more subdued role here. Starts out fruity, followed by some spicy hops bitterness and finished with a combination of that butteriness and a slight alcohol burn.

The amount of carbonation in this beer was quite a suprize. Its bursts out the gate and confuses the palate until it dies down and allowsthe fruitiness to come through. I wonder what this would taste like with less carbonation?

The heat in the finish makes this drink like a 6.8% beer, although there are meany wee heavies that have better drinkability than this scottish ale.

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

Beer poured from a bottle without a born on date into a standard pint glass. Beer is red, really red, and slightly hazy. Head is thin and white, forms nicely but falls away quickly and is broken and diffuse. Does not leave lacing behind. The haziness may be due to yeast sediment, I did not notice.

Smells a bit yeasty. A lot like a red ale. There is almost a fruit like sweetness to the aroma but overall the aroma is rather weak. I'm not picking up much malt.

Beer is light in body and in flavor. Drinkability high, I will try to decipher the subtle of this beer. First, its not bad at all. Slightly bitter, slightly sweet. Bitterness lingers in the back of the mouth for a while. There again is some fruit like / sweet apple like character to the beer. Its interesting, but not my favorite.

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Photo of BeerMark
3.21/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Railbender Ale from Erie Brewing Co pours dark copper with an off white head. Got mine from an Erie sampler pack. The flavor is of malts and a little smokiness thrown in for good measure. Nothing seems to stand out to me. Could use some beefing up. While this beer is drinkable, i probably won't seek this one out again.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.9/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Erie's Railbender Ale, a beer that I have bought cases of in the past.

Pours a rich copper in color, from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Malty aroma with some fruits lurking.

Flavor follows the nose, with an assertive maltyness, followed by booze soaked fruit but sweeter and less alcohol tasting. Caramel and light roasted flavors. Bready malts and low hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied.

Drinkability rates high, a beer with great flavors and easy to drink more than a fair share. Dangerous with the ABV but this is a very good beer.

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Photo of eandolina
2.23/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

The appearance was good; color and clarity were fair. Head retention was okay as well; but it was all down hill from there.
There was little-to- no aroma; and flavor was very poor.
Unfortunately, I bought a whole case--took a while to get rid of it.
A very disappointing beer!
Pony up the extra dough and buy a good beer.

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Photo of josefnewsong
4.08/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Discovered this ale last year and I'm glad I did...

A - pours a coppery red color with 1/2 inch head and a bit of lacing
S - nothing too overt here, just some bready malts and hints of flora
T - taste is wonderfully floral with hints of sweetness and nice chewy malt
M - smooth malts balanced by a nice carbonated bite, sticky in the finish
D - this is very drinkable, not too alcoholic and although the flavors are robust they aren't overbearing. 2 or 3 would be a piece of cake

This is a great ale for sessions, sitting around a campfire comes to mind.

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Photo of deruiz10
3.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap poured into pint glass.

A - One-finger head fades quickly leaving a light layer and substantial lacing. Copper-color pour leans more towards the orangish red side, quite effervescent.

S - Not particularly complex, but very interesting. Mildly sweet and sour, hints of apple cider and buttered toast.

T - Sweet toasty malts, butterscotch cookies and biscuits. Extremely unique, unlike anything I've tried before.

M - A little chewy, light carbonation which keeps it from feeling too heavy or sticky. Ultimately works.

D - A very warm and inviting beer, reminds me of winter. A real hybrid between long-term sipping and refreshment drinking. Maybe it's the fact that I drank it in an Irish pub, but it felt very English to me.

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

A- the color is dark light amber in color with not much of a head. light amount of carbonation

S- brown sugar, molasses & caramel. the malts actually become more pronounced as the beer warms

T- not much on the palate. little bit of caramel with a floral note that ends on a hoppy bitterness. kind of bland. not nearly as flavorful as other Scottish Ales I have tasted

M- light to medium body. a little thick on the tongue with not much carbonation.

D- not much flavor and quite honestly, a little boring. not sure I would drink again.

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Photo of PretzelsNBeer
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an american pint glass.

Appearance: copper colored brew with a modest head
Smell: malty and sweet; very unassuming; typical to style
Taste: great balance; nice malty sweet taste up front with a lingering malt finish. The malt is there but not over dominant, just the right balance. Very tasty.
Mouthfeel: medium bodied and a nice level of carbonation which lends to it's drinkability
Drinkability: the more I drink the more I like it. This beer is so well balanced and as the beer hits it's optimal drinking temperature where all the depth of the malts come out. great stuff

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Photo of bonkers
3.45/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a standard pint glass. The beer has a deep golden hue with a moderate white head, decent lacing. The aroma is malty, bready. The flavor is weak, bready, and ahint of smoke, IMO it could have used more of each. The beer is light to medium bodied, average to light carbonation. I think this beer needs to be bigger to hit the style better.

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

Appearance: slightly hazy,orangeish light brown in color. thin light brown tinted head that disaptes guickly leaving a thin lace.
Aroma: strong complex malt aroma. slight roasted notes followed by a strong sweet caramel aroma. no hop aromas are present.

Flavor: sweet caramel malt followed by a medium to strong roasted flavor. I understand that scotish ales have roasted notes but I think it is overdone just enough to mention. Its not bad but I would have dropped the percentage a little bit. The hop bitterness is very mild & done just right to balance the sweetness of the complex malt profile.

Mouthfeel: Full in body, rich in malt, light to medium carbonation (good to style), water is fairly soft.

Overall: this is an average scotish ale. Full body, rich malt profile, proper use of hops, low/medium carbonation, soft water. The only minor complaint I have is that the roasted notes are overdone just a little bit. Is this worth buying? Absolutely. I've had better & I've had much worse.

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Photo of wac9
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

its so hard to find scottish ale in my part of pa. what a great beer found a six pack in wegman wish i had a case of this beer. the beer has dark reddish color .perfect scottish ale color. the frist taste takes your breath away its that good. a good scottish ale beer made in pa. hope to have more of this

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Photo of GoalieRon33
3.68/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a- reddish brown tinted, with an overall see clear, filtered opaquness

s- toffee, with some heavy maltiness. Woody, almost smoky even

t- heavy maltiness, a bit smoky/woody flavor. slightly hoppy finish

m- medium body. Not too heavy, but still enough to let you know that you are not drinking a light beer

d- wonderful beer that is easy to drink. Heavy taste that would be wonderful for chilly days and nights

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.62/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Unibroue Tulip. 6.8% ABV, no date.

Thanks to NeroFiddled for the cool-labeled brewski!

A - The appearance would be similar to a melted caramel block that's clear. Redish-orange. Little head popped up and fell back down quickly to a thin right. No lacing on the glass.

S - The great aroma starts with a toffee burst that's quickly overtaken by a caramel sweetness. Toasty caramel malts are everywhere on this and there is a light hoppy finish that doesn't interfere with the malty balance that's going on.

T - Forget the quick toffee burst in the nose, it's not in the flavor. But what is, is the caramel toasted malts galore with a stronger hop presence on the finish to balance the maltiness out. The hoppiness is floral and a bit fruity (could also be from the malts). Not as good as it was foretold by the aroma.

M - Medium in body, it's rich with malts and very dry on the finish from hops. Also, it has a mild carbonation bite to it making it feel lighter than it really is.

D - The difference between the aroma and flavor is interesting. It's a good Scottish ale that I'll keep sipping away at but it's not incredibly drinkable by any means. The alcohol isn't noticeable though so a few may sneak up on you just a bit.

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Photo of philbe311
3.67/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

First off, congrats to Erie on the GABF medal for Railbender... As a result, I'm slightly more excited in popping this one open...

A - Half a finger of loud fizzy pale khaki colored head comprised of varying sized bubbles fades away in rapid fashion leaving only a modest milky way like lacing in the center of the glass... Loads of small moderate paced carbonation bubbles swirl throughout... The color is not as dark as expected and is a light caramel color with a strong orange hue...

S - Gooey caramel syrup... Toffee... Ripe dark fruit... Raisins... Brown sugar... Enticing, but overall rather subdued...

T - Bready malts... Golden raisins... Diacytel... Slightly medicinal finish... The flavor is good, but similar to the nose, again rather subdued...

M - Aggressive biting carbonation hits the tongue hard... On the thinner side of medium bodied... Heavy but watery at the same time...

D - A very sessionable scottish ale... Lacks the full flavor and rich mouthfeel associated with better Scoth and Scottish Ales, but there is something charming and memorable about this brew...

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Photo of wiseguy142
3.72/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky brown with little head and a viscous looking texture. Aroma is bready with some caramel. I couldn't recognize this as a Scotch Ale.. seemed like a really good British Strong Ale to me but it's definitely within style guidelines. Very sweet in the taste with most of the flavor coming from the caramel malt. Extremely drinkable. This is something I'd want to have a keg of at a party. Unbelievably smooth. Had on tap at Murphy's Law in Rochester.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.64/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on October 7, 2009. The pour on this brew is amber-copper but quite hazy. There was limited to almost zilch head on this one. Sweet caramel and malts lend themselves to the aroma with added strength followed by a little bready, overripe fruit on the tail end. The mouthfeel is smooth and honey-like, a mouthfeel that is always appearing to me. The taste is mainly of sweet malts, caramel, and toffee with neutral hops to balance it out. But it leaves a rather malty aftertaste. I would not go out of my way for it but I would drink it again if the opportunity arose.

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Photo of CampusCrew
3.45/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

appearance: red/brown. copper cloudy

smell: slight sweetness of caramel but not much

taste: taste like a less sweet bready fat tire. Easy drinking. little hops at all and semi sweet. probably the least flavored 6.8% beer Ive ever had.

mouthfeel: light bodied???

drinkability: an alright beer but I wasnt expecting much.

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Photo of mwagner1018
3.2/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- copper, reddish color, little to no off white cap.

S- Brown sugar, significant malt sweetness, caramel.

T- Medium bitterness (more than I would expect for the style), decent balance that I would expect, malt back bone, toasted sweet candi taste to it, nice bite, medium dryness.

M- Slight residual sugar note, thick and malty.

D- Not all that impressed, 1 is enough of this one, very basic.

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Photo of nickfl
2.93/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - One finger of off-white head on a hazy, copper colored body. The foam settles quickly and leaves nice lace.

S - Light malt sweetness and some caramel. A hint of british hops and a big dose of butter.

T - Slightly sweet, heavily toasted malt up front with musty hops. Some sour grainy flavor and a lot of diacetyl. Lingering english hop flavor in the finish.

M - Medium-thick body, moderately low carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Not good. This is kind of a strange scottish ale. It lacks in malt richness, just a one dimensional toasted quality. There is more hop character than one would expect for the style and the excessive buttery notes do not in any way redeem it. This might come across better if it was presented as a bitter or mild, but even then its not very good.

Update: This POS just won a GABF gold medal!?!? WTF!?

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

Reddish body, with both orange and brown highlights depending on the light. Level thick finger of slightly fuzzy white foam.

Aroma is heavy with caramel, and a slightly burnt sensation.

Thick caramel opening coats the tongue. Earthy hops nibble at the outside, and though noticeable, do not really ever capture full attention. Bit of belly warmth.

Smooth, thick mouthfeel. Goes down ok but I'm not in a huge rush for the other three.

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Photo of goblue3509
3.63/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber color with a decent one finger head. The smell is of some floral hops over a bready malt. The taste has a malt backbone with floral hops over the top, however, not very bitter. The mouthfeel is of low carbonation and is slightly creamy. Drinkability is good, it is smooth and easy drinking with a good malt backbone.

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Photo of plaid75
3.5/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On cask at the Sharp Edge Beer Emporium, Pittsburgh.

Poured a dark copper hue with a one finger frothy white head. There was good retention and decent lacing.

The smell featured a side caramel malt and an earthy hop.

The taste consisted of a smooth soft malt, caramel and a grassy earthy hop.

The mouthfeel was smooth on cask.

Overall a decent and easy drinking Scottish Ale.

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

12oz bottle purchased as part of a 6 pack at either Party Source or Brilbeck's, Syracuse, NY.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/4" tan head over the slightly cloudy dark amber brew. Head recedes gradually, with slow-falling lace. Aroma is rich, a touch of smoke, and a slight undercurrent of sour. Taste follows the nose, with tartness coming on at the close more than one would hope. Mouthfeel is soft on the tongue, and drinkability is pretty good. Wouldn't mind trying this one again.

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Photo of tgdigital
4.28/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is one of my go to beers. It's not going to completely wow anyone anytime soon, but it is a beer that I personally find incredibly palletable and hyper-drinkable. The beer itself looks like a standard amber ale with a nice frothy white head. Mainly caramel in the nose with light floral hops. The taste is rich caramel sweetness which is balanced nicely with floral hops. The mouthfeel is good but not exceptional finishing sweet. This is definitely a session beer that is easy to forget that there is almost 7% alcohol.

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Railbender Ale from Erie Brewing Co.
3.61 out of 5 based on 794 ratings.
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