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Racer 5 India Pale Ale - Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Racer 5 India Pale AleRacer 5 India Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

6,614 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,614
Reviews: 2,199
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: 9.79%
Wants: 212
Gots: 622 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Bear Republic Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
This hoppy American IPA is a full bodied beer brewed with American pale and crystal malts, and heavily hopped with Chinook, Cascade, Columbus and Centennial. There's a trophy in every glass.

2009 Great American Beer Festival® American-Style Strong Pale Ale – GOLD
2009 Colorado State Fair – Best of Show
2006 Great American Beer Festival® American-Style Strong Pale Ale – SILVER
2005 Great American Beer Festival® American-Style Strong Pale Ale – SILVER
1999 Great American Beer Festival® India Pale Ale - GOLD

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 03-27-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Racer 5 India Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,614 | Reviews: 2,199 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of checkfeet
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is just a brilliant beer. The sunset orange color, the malt supporting the ample lemony hop bite, near perfect. Sessionable too, unlike lots of bold IPAs these days.

We accidentally paired this with Asian pears and damned if it wasn't the best accident of the day. The crisp sweetness of the pear helped balance the bitterness of the beer, dancing toward a mix of vanilla, banana and tropical fruit. Wow.

checkfeet, Sep 18, 2009
Photo of Reaper16
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber served into a 2009 Boulevard Smokestack Series goblet

Pours a golden, candied yellow with decent, one finger white head. Nothing sticks out as especially impressive or out of the ordinary. It looks like an IPA, basically.

The hop character of this beer is expressed in an abundance of pine notes. The nature of this beer opens up some damp, earthy notes as the beer warms. A gentle kiss of lemon sweeps through, faintly; otherwise this is one of the least citrus-centric IPAs that I've had in some time. What is here is pleasant and appetizing, but compared to top IPAs (even to Bear Republic's own Hop Rod Rye) the aromas are not in the same neighborhood of complexity.

On the palate, the pungency of the hops is immediate. They lend a moist, almost spoiled quality to the beer (in a good way, if that makes sense). There is a much more pronounced floral character on the tongue, with helps to temper the pine that otherwise dominates the hop profile. Racer 5, this bottle at least, is not solely about the hops, however. There is a burst of malt sweetness that keeps the pungent hops in check, and this maltiness maintains its strength throughout the drink. At times you can really catch the caramel malt like silk, working its way through the pale malt.

The mouthfeel is fine. It seems light, which I like in IPAs, but for some reason I don't feel that the mouthfeel works with the flavors here. I think that it might be the overactive carbonation. If you've read my recent IPA reviews then you know that I typically love a light-bodied, prickly IPA but Racer 5 is perhaps too prickly. The harshness of the effervescence takes away from my ability to perceive the subtleties of the beer. Drinkability has to be scored well. If there is a plus to the over-active carbonation its that it refreshes the palate quickly from its lingering pine flavors. I know that this comes in 6 packs now, and Racer 5 would be an ideal IPA for an afternoon on the couch watching football, say.

Overall, this Bear Republic offering is not an IPA that blew me away (unlike Hop Rod Rye, which ranks among my top 5 IPAs). There are other IPS that better showcase the totality of what the hop can be. But a solid, drinkable, tasty IPA is nothing to be ashamed of. I wouldn't throw rocks at this IPA. Its clearly west-coast in nature and would satisfy a hop craving. Its good stuff.

Reaper16, Sep 17, 2009
Photo of squirrelpirate
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bear Republic Racer 5 poured a clear, light orange hue with a pillowy white head. The aroma is packed with hops. Excellent citrus and pine notes with a hint of malt sweetness as well.

This beer started out with a sweet, bready feeling on the tongue with a piney bitterness. The hops quickly drown out the malt and power through the aftertaste. A very floral, clover taste lingers on the tongue.

Moderate body and and mild carbonation. Solid medium mouthfeel and very drinkable if you can stand the huge hops. An exceptional IPA.

squirrelpirate, Sep 14, 2009
Photo of seand
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a very cloudy yellow amber, with a short but thick and foamy white head, which leaves nice lacing.

S: You can smell the piney floral hops when you open the bottle. There's also a little bit of sweetness, but the hops dominate.

T: Strong hops, but more flavorful than super bitter. Balanced with some sweetness, but the IPA bitterness is certainly present.

M: Medium amount of smooth carbonation, full and sticky mouthfeel.

D: Drinks pretty easy, though for some people I would imagine the bitterness could get in the way.

seand, Sep 12, 2009
Photo of donniecuffs
3.65/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

UPDATE 11/23/11: Had this on tap again lately, and it was a more pleasant experience, with 2 notable points since last time: 1. the head retention and lacing was much better; 2. much more citrus midpalate (yet a thin'ish finish).

This review was for a 22oz bottle poured into an American pint glass, but I have also had it on tap, with varying results. As such, my big knock on this beer is inconsistency.

A: Orange/amber, with a thin head that dissipated quickly and laced spottily.

S: Very subtle citrus on the nose with an earthy/pine undertone. (The pint I had on tap was much more pronounced in citrus diversity.)

T: Ditto the aroma. Very lacking in citrus flavor, with earthy/woodiness dominating. Too much so for an ipa. Hoppy bitterness doesn't enter the equation until the dry aftertaste hits you. (Again, this was better on tap as well.)

M: Creamy, like most of the BR offerings, yet lightly drinkable.

D: Light to throw a few back, but needs more flavor. Again, the big knock on this beer is inconsistency.

donniecuffs, Sep 11, 2009
Photo of ipazilla
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer on draft at a local seafood place, they are known for having great beers and this was no exception.
Bright orange golden color with a nice head.
Very very floral and grapefruit flavored extra bitter and crisp.
It goes down smooth and leaves a great pine after taste.
Perfect for a hot day.

ipazilla, Sep 05, 2009
Photo of Kitt
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful golden color with a two-finger thick head that rapidly dissipates. Thus, lace develops quickly but remains thick and persistent. Aroma, piney, hoppy, with equal parts citrus.

Palatte greeted with a blast of bitter piney hops with a distant hint of straw! Hop flavor is strong and lasting but does not over-linger. A background citrus flavor is brief at onset but drowned by hops within moments. Overall, a very bitter IPA.

Mouthfeel of moderate wieght. Drinkability smooth, light, refreshing. This is a fine -- albeit heavy-hopped -- IPA. The "heavy hop" works well here and is balanced by the beer's refreshing drinkability. A great summer evening brew.

Kitt, Sep 05, 2009
Photo of Durge
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured cold at Moe's in Lee, MA this one shows a clear amber color with a slight bubbly white cap and good lacing. The aroma is not very strong but suggests piney hops and caramel bread. The flavor jumps out bold and delicious with a tangy pine hop and orange toffee complements. Solidly mid-bodied for a smooth feel with modest carbonation. This leaves a decided lemony bite but it's mostly a beautiful bready hop blend that's plenty drinkable but may be a bit much to session for some. Nice...

Durge, Sep 03, 2009
Photo of HalfFull
3.6/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a bomber into a pint glass, the beer pours a hazy golden orange with a thin head. Settles to a surface cap in a couple minutes, then a surface ring, and offers light lacing throughout the pint.

Citrus and pine notes on the nose with some malt lingering in the shadows. A bit too clean however with notable dead spots. Rather rich and malty on the tongue, particularly given the color of the pour. Reduces to a rather simple IPA, and somewhat sweet as the carbonation diminishes too fast.

Have had this on tap a number of times. Anywhere from blah to beautiful, this brew is too unpredictable to buy again. It's all over the place and too dependent on carbonation for success. I'll stick to more reliable options in the future, and this 'bottle conditioned' serving seems no different. Buttery, sweet and unpredictable in the hops/carbonation/feel.

HalfFull, Sep 03, 2009
Photo of rowew
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz longneck, ABV is marked but I don't see a date.

Appearance: Poured with a bit of sediment, tried to leave most of it in the bottle. Orange and hazy, average head with good retention.

Smell: Tons of hops - pine and a sticky sweet aroma.

Taste: Fairly thin, and just like the aroma, this is lots of hops flavor, but not much bitterness.

Overall impression: Nice example of a west coast IPA - lots of hops, highly drinkable.

rowew, Sep 03, 2009
Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.95/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Started the night off with this one at Kennedy's Irish Pub in San Francisco two nights ago. The following review is based on notes taken that night.

Served in a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Hazy, pale gold body showed consistent and active carbonation within. Head wasn't much to speak of - only a small, white, sticky halo - though it did drag massive amounts of web-like lacing.

Smell: Lots of pine and toffee, accompanied by earthy and woody aromas. Tons and tons of flowery hops invade the nostrils. Very pungent.

Taste: Tons of pine and bitter floral hops. Grains and subtle spices also caressed the palate, but this one was definitely pine and hop heavy. Finished on a very bitter, alcoholic note.

Mouthfeel: Oily, prickly, sticky, and very dry. This IPA was also medium-bodied and peppery at times. The finish was long-lasting, bitter, and dry - maybe too dry.

Drinkability: I really wanna give this one an A-, but I can't seem to find a category where I would rank it higher than "Good" (4.0). This is a very solid IPA that I would recommend to anyone, and I myself will likely be ordering it again. For those that like piney IPAs, you'll especially enjoy Racer 5.

ThreeWiseMen, Aug 31, 2009
Photo of inhopswetrust
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Just enjoyed this one on tap.

Appearance: light amber; very slight head and lacing.

Smell: moderate floral hops; nothing spectacular but pleasantly subtle nonetheless.

Taste: very smooth front; slight sweetness of light malts; fades into nice citrus/pine hops finish.

Mouthfeel: light but not watery; leaves slight oily residue of hops on tongue.

Drinkability: excellent standby brew; well balanced but with enough hops to keep my hop head gears turning.

inhopswetrust, Aug 31, 2009
Photo of OldYoda
3.68/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy, hazy golden amber with a small head that rapidly disappears leaving some nice residual lacing.

Smell is subdued with an overlay of hops and a whiff of malty sweetness.

Taste is initially hops with a nice dry finish and a good balancing sweetness.

Mouthfeel is clean and dry.

Drinkability is fine - several of these is no problem. For a hophead, this is a very nice effort from Bear Republic. Bravo!!

OldYoda, Aug 31, 2009
Photo of GordonQuid
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a dimpled pub mug.

Golden orange sun with a frothy one inch head that dissapates to a quarter inch head with ample lacing.

Smells of the typical American IPA; citrus and pine with an orange rind note.

Taste is fresh citrus hops and sweet malt blend. The hops linger in the finish. Quite appetizing and satisfying.

Easy drinker very smooth.

GordonQuid, Aug 29, 2009
Photo of JordonHoltzman
4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle

very orangy amber, with a white bubbly pinky's head. pretty translucent. bubbly lace follows the path of the height of the beer. (EDIT: the last pour turned the beer from a very clear body to hazy, i'm guessing thats the yeast from the bottom)
this beer has a citrusy aroma as well as very floral. the website says columbus and cascade hops are used. no traces of alcohol come to the nose.
this is a great tasting IPA. aroma matches the taste very well. citrusy and very hoppy. i get a small lemony taste in there as well.
the cardonation is slightly higher than medium, but i wouldnt say its high and i wouldnt say its too much either. its on the dry side but not too dry.
i'm in an IPA tasting phase, and i don't like to compare, but i had abita's jockamo IPA yesterday, and this certainly tops it.
this is my first bear republic brew, and i have to say its pretty good. i have no clue where i can get a hold of their racer X, but who knows maybe i'll find that in a glass of mine in the future, but i'll be trying other bear republics for certain.

JordonHoltzman, Aug 27, 2009
Photo of saztheorybook
4.43/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Beautiful golden brown with a thick yellow-cake head that drops off pretty quickly but leaves some pretty nice lacing.
S- Reeks of fresh hops, spicy and herbal with the tiniest fruit character.
T-There is a surprisingly deep malt character, a low hop bitterness but loads of fruit and floral tastes in the hop itself. A nice rounded and subtle yeastiness is there in back as well.
M-Pretty smooth and rich. For the number of streams of bubbles on this beer, there is very little carbonation bite. This is how I dig 'em.
D- Dangerously quaffable. Now I know why people talk about this one so much. I'd probably take a 90 Minute over this, but for the price, yeah, I'll have another twelve.

saztheorybook, Aug 25, 2009
Photo of adamette
3.48/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into my Cooperstown Beverage Trail pint glass. Purchased a few months ago at Giant Eagle in Painesville, Ohio. The second of 4 Bear Republic beers that I bought a bomber of and will be drinking and rating this week.

A Nice orange brown body under a brief but creamy head. Good lacing too. Solid IPA look. 4.0

S Typical grapefruit hops, maybe some malt. One of maybe 30 of these IPAs that all smell the same really. 3.0

T Malt, hops, both with high concentration. Grapefruit and citrus is strong in this one. Reminds me of a Bell's Two Hearted but is more citrusy, more tart. I prefer the Two Hearted for sure but it is in the same genre. 3.5

M Full with big tastes, hops and malt. 4.0

D Maybe a bit above average for the style. 3.5

Notes: I decided a while ago to continue to try all styles but I am really getting bored of IPAs. To me they are too one dimensional and frankly, don't taste good. This one is a solid IPA with big tastes in the genre of Bell's Two Hearted but I am bored.

adamette, Aug 25, 2009
Photo of Morey
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a cloudy orange color with a decent cream colored head that has some serious clinging action.

Aroma is a fantastic and powerful combination of grapefruit and hops.

Taste is more of the same. A very citrusy, well hopped flavor with lingering bitterness.

Medium mouthfeel.

I could definitely drink quite a few of these, I don't know if I consider it a session ale, but pretty close.

Morey's Bottom Line: VERY similar to Bell's Two Hearted, and I mean VERY similar. Which obviously means that it's darn good.

Morey, Aug 24, 2009
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.55/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at the Rogue Public House in San Francisco. A lovely beer that seems to get better with time- or maybe that its really easy to find fresh these days, and this beer is just fantastic fresh. I actually like it better than the Racer X. Pours dark golden with a fine white head that fades to a thin cap and leaves some great lacing. Smells nicely of bitter citrus and pine with just enough malt to keep things balanced. Tastes great when fresh, like this is. Wonderful sappy pine and zingy, bitter citrus, along with some dill herbal notes, and a bracing bitterness throughout. Not watery at all, so there is enough of a malt component to keep the beautiful hops supported. A delicious beer.

Georgiabeer, Aug 24, 2009
Photo of JEdmund
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sunset orange glow with a healthy head that settles to 1/4" cap

Citrus and very fruity; nice, big aroma

Taste & Mouthfeel
Lots of sharp hoppiness throughout; seems to start off with piney hops but then more citrus flavors come in mid-way; the finish is of caramel sweetness--almost toffeelike with a hint of toasted flavor; medium bodied, velvety texture; the Cascade hops make the beer feel familiar, as many American IPAs use this variety; fairly big beer, so not something I could drink multiples of in one sitting

Racer 5 definitely competes with the best of American IPAs, but for some reason it doesn't seem to stand out. Maybe it's just me from having too many IPAs lately, or maybe there's not enough going on in the recipe to keep me interested. I'd recommend it to anyone, but I don't see it working its way into my regular rotation.

JEdmund, Aug 22, 2009
Photo of ocelot2500
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy orange amber color with a rising white head that falls into a ring. Plenty of lacing left on the glass.

Smells of a big dose of citrus and pine hops.

Tastes of the big citrus and pine hops. Also a pale malt presence. A lot less bitter on the finish than I would expect given the nose.

Mouthfeel is a smooth medium body. A good amount of carbonation to keep from being creamy or rough.

This is very drinkable.

ocelot2500, Aug 21, 2009
Photo of dac0152
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice orange, smaller head than I expected, maybe half inch. Love the lacing with all those hops.

Smells like piney hops, but there is a tint of sweetness peeking through.

Lots of hops up front, followed by a nice sweetness that really leaves no bitter aftertaste to be found. Overall not a huge kick in the face with hops, but that doesn't stop my from enjoying the beer at all. In fact, it tastes pretty heavenly.

Definitely full-bodied beer, but so smooth and nice. Goes down very easy. Hard not to gulp, it just drinks so easily.

Definitely something I'll be picking up again and again, I just wish I could get it in 6-packs. Delicious and a solid IPA.

dac0152, Aug 21, 2009
Photo of akorsak
3.85/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A tumbler glass served at Al's of Hampden.

A: The IPA is an amber orange color, translucent with a small band of head that doesn't lace.

S: The aroma is chocked full of hops, bitter pine primarily. The oily aromas stand out above the malt backbone.

T: Sweet mamma jamma, this is hoppy. Pine is resinous, oily as it coats me mouth. Bitterness is sharp, peppery without the a spicy finish. Underneath the hops, the caramel malts are more than up to the task, balancing out the ale with a bready body. The hops din't stay silenced for long though, returning to leave a sharp flavor on the tongue.

M: A heavily hopped IPA that seems too strong at times. A little more balance never hurts anyone.

D: I limited myself to one glass. It seems a little to boozy to be enjoyed in multiple servings.

akorsak, Aug 20, 2009
Photo of Daniellobo
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great US strong IPA with a sturdy hoppy backbone.

Presentation: 12 oz bottle. Recognizable racing design mixed with the Bear Republic branding, a bit kitschy and, true, the racing topic does not do it for me. Brief and assertive narrative with some nice brew master notes. Lacks date of bottling or freshness, neither shows IBUs or °Plato, only Alc. (7.0%) Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Nice golden orange color. Starts with a one inch head that turns quickly to a consistent ring on the beer and some traces on the surface. Minimum lacing as it goes down.

S - Dedicated hoppy aroma. Pine and resins predominate over the floral .

T - Hoppy bitter taste with a small sweetness lingering briefly. Quite assertive but nicely balanced.

M - A bit higher than what one typically would call medium bodied with some carbonation. It works great.

D - Very drinkable. Complex but with a sense of sturdy hoppiness that builds its character.

Notes: Not a DIPA but it is a great IPA leaning on the heavy personality side. I´m making this one a regular on my fridge for this style.

Daniellobo, Aug 19, 2009
Photo of jrallen34
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I drank this from a bottle into a chalice.

It pours a dark orange with a white head and decent lacing. THe color is a really pretty orange with and head lastes about 30 seconds.

It smells very bitter, the hops show through with a nice combination of orange and coriander peeking through. Great smell.

This tastes great, nice slow start with a citrus tinge and great smooth finish, with a very very late bitter finish. Wonderful tasting beer. Here.

jrallen34, Aug 18, 2009
Racer 5 India Pale Ale from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 6,614 ratings.