Racer 5 India Pale Ale - Bear Republic Brewing Co.

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

7,053 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,053
Reviews: 2,264
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: 9.79%
Wants: 279
Gots: 908 | 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:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 03-27-2002

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,053 | Reviews: 2,264
Photo of John_M
4.13/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Frisco's the other day.

The beer pours a light peachy amber color with very good head retention and lacing. The nose includes the typical grapefruit lime aroma, with some sweet malt as well that is not overdone. The flavors on the palate replicate the nose, with the beer having a nice balance of sweet malt and hops. There is good underlying bitterness to this IPA, but your palate is not overwhelmed by it. This IPA is medium bodied and the abv. is remarkably well hidden. So this beer is very drinkable for an IPA, and remains one of my fall back beers if I do not see anything else particularly of interest on a beer menu.

There are so many good IPA's on the market these days that I rarely order Racer V. Nevertheless, this remains one of the better IPA's on the market, and quality is refreshingly consistent. Unfortunately, after having it's stable mate, the Racer X, I just find it difficult to get too excited about Racer V any more. Still, this remains a good quality, solid IPA.

Photo of jdhilt
2.96/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a three-finger cream head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Fairly clear amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Grassy/piney hoppy nose. Starts balanced with a hint of sweetness but the hops kick in and dominate, bitter grapefruit finish. Good IPA but I don't like the hops in-your-face which the brewer has done all too well. $4.55 for a 22 oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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.

Photo of biegaman
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Racer 5 both smells and looks like a blend of pineapple, tangerine and papaya juice; it has yellow, orange and dark orange colours with a naturally cloudy complexion. Looking into the glass against the light reveals little visibility but plenty of bubbles. Its head is both bubbly and filmy - it looks like a coral reef with waves of lacing washed up against the glass.

As mentioned already, juicy notes of pineapple, tangerine and papaya stand out, but there are also lesser flavours of coconut, pine resin and tree bark. The malts - what little can be made out of them - are like honeyed-toasted biscuits, but their sweetness is no match for the bitter orange peel skin and apricot pits. It is also grassy, like an herbal tea laxative.

The best American IPAs have a candied-citrus taste and plenty of acidic citrus zest - that describes Racer 5 to a tee. This tastes like a fruit salad that combines under-ripe cantaloupe, lychee and papaya fruits, slices of mandarin and is topped with a lemon juice/white grapefruit vinaigrette and garnished with boiled, sweetened orange peel. Very fruity.

Candied, caramelized sweetness balances out a lot of the citric acidity, but doesn't cover up for the sugary, pineapple-tasting sweetness nor the trace of earthy, pungent, pine needle-like notes. This beer has such a resinous finish that no bready maltiness, no matter how supportive and noted it may be, conceals that fact. It's plenty refreshing as result.

I don't think the palm trees are as common when you get as north as Healdsburg, but this thing is tropical enough to serve with an umbrella garnish. That said, it is still a tremendously bitter beer and the combination of the two qualities makes this among the best of American IPAs, as good (and better than many) as any others produced in the Golden State.

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.05/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at the La Jolla Brewhouse in CA. The beer was served in a pint glass, and it pours a clear yellow-gold color with a thin, filmy head. Well rounded aromas of sweet malt and light hops, with citrus and slight spicy highlights. The flavors are bitter and sour initially, with a bit of green and peppery taste at the end. The body is creamy and buttery; very smooth. Hoppy and tart aftertaste, which is very pleasant, and an easy, smooth finish. A very tasty brew!

Photo of plaid75
4.47/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On draft at Hurricane Grill, Syosset, New York.

Poured a suprisingly light copper hue with a one ginger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a strong peppery hop and grainy malt.

The taste was full blown pepper hops with a moderate earthy sweetness.

The mouthfeel was toward the lighter side of the style considering the ABV.

Overall a superior IPA.

Photo of Axnjxn
3.77/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

pours a cloudy golden color with a slight, quickly dissipating head.

grassy, hoppy aroma on the nose. not a huge hop bomb like I expected.

taste is, again, quite subdued. hops and malts are both there but aren't in your face huge. good citrus aftertaste with no alcohol present. higher side of medium bodied with low carbonation. decent drinkability.

overall, like other bear republic beers I've had, this one is lacking on that big kick of flavor. its balanced but the flavors just aren't intense. this isn't a favorite of mine.

Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a slighty cloudy golden yellow color, nice carbonation, huge foamy head, nice lacing throughout the drink.

S - Scents of hops aplenty, sweet malts, yeast, and citrus.

T - The taste is sweet and bitter. Very nice bite at the finish. The finish is also dry.

M - Medium body. Very nice balanced and slightly carbonated feel.

D - Very drinkable. This is my first BR brew. I've heard great things about Racer 5 and now I know why. This IPA is very tasty, one of the best I've ever had. I'm glad I bought 2 bombers.

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.42/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From growler to pint glass on 3/21/11
*From notes

A: A good, somewhat cloudy 24k gold. It's got a nice 1.25 finger head, followed by high quality lacing.

S: Pine needles attack the nostrils. If I wasn't aware before, I am now: this is a west coast IPA all the way.

T: A good dose of breadiness hits first, but it's merely a formality as the sweet and citrusy hops overwhelm the palate from the mid to finish.

M: Pretty killer - this one feels like it belongs. Good weight and creaminess that tends to be found in the upper echelon of the style.

O: I've been meaning to review this one for a while, and what better way then a growler!

Bear Republic's Racer 5 is one of the top AIPA's for a reason, and is a cornerstone of the style. I have returned to this time and time again, and will continue to for years to come. This one borders pretty close to perfection.

Photo of ppoitras
4.48/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle from bleedingshrimp as part of 120/190 BIF. Thanks for the opportunity, been meaning to get to this one.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1 1/4" beige head over the clear golden amber brew. Pillowy head lasts nicely, with heavy but sporadic frothy lacing. Aroma is lightly lemony hops with an undercurrent of controlled sweetness. Taste is upfront a nicely balanced flavor of grains and citrus hops, which slowly gives way to allow the hops to gain center stage. Mouthfeel is smooth and clean, and drinkability is superb. One of the more controlled West Coast IPAs, I like it.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.42/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz brought over tonight by SAS while we were packing up a couple boxes for trade... my half from my New Belgium snifter.

3/4" head.. left good lacing.. hazy honey colored brew (I got the bottom half) ..

Aroma is C-hops all the way around.. it smells fresh... grapefruit .. slight but present pale malts.. with touches of yeasty fruitiness.

WOW! Flavor is big even for a CA IPA. Big grapefruit and Flintstone vitamin hops (only way I can describe it).. fruity and a little minerally at the same time. Nearly absurdly big hop flavors squash the pale malts that are present.. I am getting just enough sweetness to balance the big bitterness. Fairly thick mouthfeel for the style but the oily hoppiness lends to a pleasant slickness ... but I am definitely not complaining. Finish is a long fruity hoppiness.

Racer 5 would be a staple in my home if I had access... definitely verges on DIPA territory.. but still utterly fantastic... I could drink this until my palate was long blown.. but I would somehow try to find a way to slink one more in.

I've only had this brew one time before.. but I am truly thankful I had the chance to try it again.

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

Pours a slightly hazy golden color with a 1 inch foamy white head that settles to a small cap. Nice tight rings of lace line the glass on the entire drink down. Smell is all about the hops: grassy, herbal, earthy, and some slight citrus zest. Taste is mainly of grassy and herbal hops with a malt backbone to support everything. There is a mild bitterness that lingers on the palate with each sip. This beer has a medium bodied mouthfeel with a lower level of carbonation. Overall, this is a good IPA but it features a hop profile that I am not all that crazy about.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured a deep, cloudy golden amber with very little head retention.

S - A blast of citrus hops; grapefruit and floral nose.

T - Bitter citrus with some floral notes. A nice clean aftertaste.

M - medium body with a good amount of carbonation.

D - A great west coast IPA. Definitely worthy of being a regular in my fridge.

Photo of beerthulhu
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a clear, bright tangerine orange with a creamy 1 finger macro-bubbly head that was moderately lasting leaving a spotchy lacing. Visible carbonation was medium.

S: a huge sweet pink grapefruity aroma which was smooth and well rounded by nature.

T: sweet/bitter pungent grapefruit that was semi-dry with some dry floral. The hoppiness was very well rounded, grapefruity, and fresh, with a semi-dry floral finish with hints of lemon and sweet citrus, which was incredibly smooth and refined and not at all rough or coarse like others per style. What I really enjoyed was the balance between the bittering/flavor/aroma hopping. The beer had a great strong aroma to start things off. The palate was dominated by the sweet citrusy hop flavor that was very smooth with the bittering hops coming through in the finish, leaving a nice citrusy floral fade on the tongue.

M: medium fullness with a very dry pungent grapefruit and floral hopping and lacing coming through upon warming.

D: Overall great drinkability, even if your not a big hophead. Refreshing, huge citrusy hopping that was very smooth and bitter/sweet, citrusy and dry. Highly recommended.

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

Lovely dark gold color; not much of a head; faint lacing.

Restrained floral hop aroma.

Classic, balanced tasting IPA, good bitterness, subdued floral, citrus, and pine notes. Decent maltiness behind it all.

Creamy mouthfeel with moderately low carbonation. Very nice. Highly drinkable.

This is a good one; falls short of the hop bomb category; not overtly bitter and has a fairly crisp finish. Really nice, mainstream example of a West Coast IPA.

Photo of vfgccp
3.55/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed an off bottle on 4/26/11, came back to it again to give it a second chance.

A – Light gold body. White head with ok retention, but good lace.

S – Woody, leafy hop character. Light honey sweetness.

T – Soft malt into an orange and ginger middle. Herbal backend of thyme and rosemary. Great balance, but the end of the profiled is blemished by a dry dustiness.

M – Medium body with a lightly sweet finish.

O – Not a bad IPA. The dusty note on the backend keep this a solid point lower than where it could have been imho.

Photo of beertunes
3.39/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a straight pint glass. Poured a lovely orange/yellow with a thin white head that left lots of sticky lacin

Crisp citrus hops greet the nose, and the flavors are very similar. I didn't find this IPA to be as good as BRs Hop Rod Rye.

The body was solid, which gave the hops something to cling to, a pleasant change from most thin west coast IPAs. A very drinkable beer, especially for an IPA, I recommend this beer, but find Hop Rod far superior.

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.87/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Review from 6/2011 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a medium orange amber, light head and minimal lacing. Nice fresh sweet herbal hop and malt aroma. Citrus, hops, light malt. Grapefruit and light pine. Hop and citrus aftertaste. Moderate body. A pleasant, moderately intense IPA.

Photo of Duff27
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a dark golden/light orange. Huge three-finger slightly off-white head that last a ridiculous amount of time in all it's glory. Literally looks like an ice cream float with the head. Lacing is above average as well.

S- Citrus, citrus, and more citrus. I love it.

T- Hellacious grapefruit. Citrus. Some pine. Hop profile is awesome..."Lingering bitterness"

M- Medium mouthfeel, perfect amount of carbonation for me.

D/O- What an awesome IPA! Would have no qualms with putting down a few of these given the opportunity. Racer 5...you my only friend.

Photo of Derek
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Back-to-back with the hop rod rye. The hop flavour in this one is over-the-top! You've gotta be a hop head to enjoy this!

A: Golden-bronze with a fluffy white head; only a little retention, but it leaves a nice lace.

S: Plenty of citrus & pine with a touch of floral hop aroma; a little toffee & candied fruit.

T: Plenty of pine & citrus hop flavour (the Columbus & Cascade provide a well-round hop flavour). Toffee & candy-floss/candied fruit; balanced with an assertive (but pleasant) bitterness. There's a slightly warm dryness to the finish, but the alcohol is really well hidden.

M: Slightly heavier than moderate body is pleasantly creamy & slightly acidic. Moderate carbonation.

D: Great drinkability (for the hop initiated).

Truly an all-round GREAT beer!

Photo of flagmantho
3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I first reviewed this beer back on 11/7/2009 and gave it a horrendously low 2.78 score, with a very low 2.5 score for flavor. I think I was just not used to funky IPAs at the time, so I decided to give Racer 5 a second shot.

Review updated 4/22/2012. Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: light golden-orange hue with a touch of haze and a thick finger of frothy ivory foam. Good.

Smell: lightly funky aroma with some nice earthy/citrusy hops underneath. Not bad, although a bit lighter than I expected.

Taste: rich, malty flavor with a good earthy hop flavor complemented by a hint of citrus which is very well balanced. Kind of like a strong English IPA, maybe, with a bit more citrus. Quite good.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a bodacious carbonation and a big ol' creaminess I just can't ignore. I like it a lot.

Overall: I am very glad I re-approached this beer. My opinion last time was "this will definitely be a beer I revisit when I've got another hundred or two beers under my belt". Well, I've had on the order of 900 beers since then and I find this beer quite good. This beer doesn't seem a quarter as funky as I made it out to be the first time I reviewed it, so either the recipe has changed or my palate has. I will go with my palate -- at this point, I would gladly quaff Racer 5 regularly.

---
(Original review)

Poured from 22oz bomber into a pint glass.

Appearance: color is light golden, heading towards straw; head is ivory in hue and two fingers in size. Nice.

Smell: pungent is a good word to use here; hops are very earthy and a little grassy and metallic. The aroma reminds me of day old grass clippings. Perhaps "pungent" is not right; this beer trends far closer to "funky".

Taste: a lot like the smell. I am not sure how I feel about the funkiness factor here. Maybe this earthy, decomposing-plant-matter funk is intentional, but it is starting to grate on me. Either my bottle has a problem or I am not sophisticated enough for this beer.

Mouthfeel: medium body with an appropriate level of carbonation.

Drinkability: the funkiness is getting to be too much. I will definitely finish the bottle; who knows, it might start to grow on me. This will definitely be a beer I revisit when I've got another hundred or two beers under my belt.

Photo of DrJay
4.55/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Slighty hazy orange colour with a generous, fluffy head. Good retention and lacing. Toasted, malty aroma with mostly pine and some citrus hop character that is more on the orange side. Also just a bit spicy. Excellent balance with plenty of bitterness balanced by bready, biscuity malts. Hop flavour is strong pine, citrus, and spice, without being over the top. Sweetness backs off towards the end, which lets the resinous bitterness come forward, along with more orange hop flavour, and a bit of alcohol warming appear. Finishes off-dry. Body is a little on the heavy side, moderate carbonation. Bottle conditioning seems to contribute to the creamy smooth texture, which improves even more as it warms. Very nice...

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

Poured a golden orange with yellow highlights that had a nice finger of head and left good sticky lacing on the glass. The aromas given off from the beer were quite enjoyable with the hops dominating the nose but had a good sweet malt presence and hints of citrus grapefruit and slight caramel notes. As far as the taste the piney hop were a little bit more punchier but still maintained a decent balance between the sweet malts. The citrus grapefruit also helped out some to enhance the bitter flavors on the palate and I could also detect a caramel undertone. The beer was medium body with a fair amount of carbonation for an IPA and had a slight sweet but sticky bitter finish. Overall the beer was good across the board and drank exceptionally well without a huge alcohol punch considering the ABV.

Photo of tone77
3.7/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 22 oz. bottle. Has a rich golden color with a small head. Smell is of hops, some citrus. Taste is dominated by hops, some citrus and hints of malts, very flavorful. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has good drinkability. Overall this is a good quality beer.

Photo of Viggo
4.22/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy golden/orange, thick white head forms, lots of lacing, great retention, head lasts until the end. Smell is rad, pine and grapefruit up front, pineapple, toffee, citrus, superbly balanced. taste is grapefruit and pine, pineapple again, oranges, maybe some vanilla, nice and full flavoured. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low to medium carbonation, some warmth going down. Very clean bitterness in the finish, great balance. Excellent IPA.

Racer 5 India Pale Ale from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,053 ratings.