Racer 5 India Pale Ale - Bear Republic Brewing Co.

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Racer 5 India Pale AleRacer 5 India Pale Ale

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6,699 Ratings

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Ratings: 6,699
Reviews: 2,210
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: 9.79%
Wants: 223
Gots: 659 | FT: 9
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
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Ratings: 6,699 | Reviews: 2,210 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ajayma
2.78/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

LOOK. Nice honey-colored tones. Dense head on the pour but short-lived.

AROMA. Green, zesty, fresh hops. Like hops right off the vine that you crush between between the palms of your hands.

BODY. Medium-heavy in body, oily, with a firm carbonation.

TASTE. Grabs you by the tongue right off the bat with a bitter, resinous, pine sap attack. Finishes with an oily, medicinally bitter finish. Malt is there, but feels like it's just hanging out, not really bringing enough to balance the harshness of the hops.

AFTERMATH. Not my favorite. I would have liked a little more balance. It smells really, really wonderful though.

Photo of felipe2toes
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Pours a golden orange, with a thick foamy head that left some nice lacing.

S: Smelled of resiny and piney hops. Some grapefruit and pineapple on the nose as well.

T: Dominant hops, but not incredibly bitter like I expected. Well-balanced though with bitter grapefruit up front and then some sweetness on the finish.

M: Good carbonation on this, resiny and sticky mouthfeel.

D: For me, this was an easy drinking beer. Refreshing.

Photo of mulder1010
4.38/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml poured into a red oak glass.

A-- almost a honey like color (yellowish orange). Very nice white head that left lacing after setteling. Moderatly carbonated

S-- Get the floral hops off the bat. Lemon, orange. A little bit of a sweet smell s well.

T-- Pow! Hops and more hops in first taste. Lively carbonation as well. Comes right after you.

M-- Letting it sit get the citrus afterwards. very hoppy but very nice in the ending. Cottonmouth is not as big as other IPA's. Goes to Citrus and sweetness at the end.

D-- Not bad. I am not a hop head and the first time I tried Racer 5 I struggled finishing it. 7% is barely there. Great beer but one is enough for me to do in a sitting. Good beer to build hop palate on

Photo of porterwoobie
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap, poured into a standard pint glass.

A: orangish amber color, clear, decent head that laces well

S: very hoppy smell. huge pine aroma that dominates the slight caramel sweetness underneath.

T: bitter and piney. the sweetness from the caramel malts was very subdues. big and bold hop flavor, bitterness lingers on the palate for the finish.

MF: medium bodied, moderate carbonation, resiny.

Drinkability: very solid offering. very drinkable. definitely would drink this again and look for it when on beer runs.

Photo of Lldeegan
4.38/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Nice hazy deep burning orange color. Minimal white lingering head, leaves a finely bubbled lace on the glass.
The nose is caramel and hoppy, followed by a very dominant deep malt. Not sure what malt was used but reminds me of the bags of Munich malt that a lugged around the NOLA brewery for a day or two this summer. I am surprised by the smell of this, I was expecting more hops than malt in the smell, but besides the initial floral hop note, malt is the lead here. Bit of a buttery smell as it lingers.
Taste has a quick bitter roll into the back of the mouth, followed by a nice sweet malt taste, immediately erases my presuppositions about IPAs. A few sips in and I have already decided to buy it again next time I go to Steins.
This beer has a really smooth feel to it in the mouth, it is crisp and has a quick finish that leaves you wanting more. I think this beer has the perfect level of carbonation, not too much, but it's there and it has all liveliness on my tongue to let me know it's a fresh beer.
Finding a beer with such drinkability is like having an epiphany. Just had Brooklyn lager the other day and it was the same. This is another very pleasant surprise. I have always avoided IPAs, but I had a feeling that this one would turn the tide.

Photo of woosterbill
4.53/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Radiant orange, slightly hazy body topped with half an inch of fine, white foam. Nice carbonation, decent retention and good lace.

S: Rich, cool, abundant hops: smooth citrus with some soft floral notes. Great.

T: The hops are dominant, but not overpowering, with a nice balancing influence of caramel malts. This is a straightforward and simply delicious beer.

M: Smooth carbonation and a medium body.

D: I still find it hard to believe that this beer is 7% - it's so smooth and balanced that I could drink it all night.

Notes: Racer 5 is undoubtedly a top-notch IPA, with juicy hops and just enough sweetness to keep things from being one-dimensional. I only wish it were available in CT - it might be my go-to IPA.


Photo of digitalbullet
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Apperance: deep golden color with a relatively thick head that dissapates fairly quickly. A lot of lacing present.
Smell: crisp pine needles. Good malty sweetness present as well.
Taste: clean grassy hops. Citrus grapefruit bitterness. Slightly sweet malt present.
Mouthfeel: light and well balanced. Crisp and minimal aftertaste that can be present on some IPAs.
Drinkability. This beer is the bomb! So smooth and easy to drink. Excellent session beer

Photo of Brenden
4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The color is a cloudy golden orange, not quite copper. A big, rocky bubble bath head sticks around and leaves a pretty intricate network of lacing down the glass.
There's a load of hops on the nose, fresh and raw, with the effect of whiffing grapefruit juice with piney and other notes as well. Citrus and a gentle spice are underlying. A very gentle malt adds a light balance to the aroma.
Hops straight up attack the palate first. There's something toasted underneath the whole thing, and a submissive malt gives way to the raw grapefruit of the hops.
The mouthfeel is smooth, and a moderate carbonation gives a crisp bite to it. The body is medium to full and really supports the creaminess.

Photo of rfgetz
3.53/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear orangy amber, fluffy, creamy hand pumped head.

S: Piney hops, faint hints of citrus and spice. Decent malt presence.

T: Piney hops with spicy flavors. Hints of citrus and decent malt backbone. Bitter and Earthy.

M: Big boddied, slightly oily and coating. Some aftertaste.

D: Good, but not great. Odd combo of strong piney hops and malt backbone. Cask is not my favorite IPA serving device.

Photo of whoneeds8
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass hazy orange with a thick white head, good lacing, but lots of sediment. Smell isn't too strong, but has floral hop hints. Taste is very smooth. A nice hop bite up front, could use a little more sweet flavor on the back end, but it doesn't leave a bitter aftertaste like most AIPA's do.n The mouthfeel is good.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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...

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!!

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.

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.

Racer 5 India Pale Ale from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,699 ratings.