Black Racer - Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Black RacerBlack Racer

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

505 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 505
Reviews: 105
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 9.44%
Wants: 14
Gots: 22 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Bear Republic Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  8.10% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: avaldivia on 07-27-2011

Black Racer™ blends Bear Republic's love of hops with the Pacific Northwest's appreciation for dark ales. Our pit crew brews this award winning ale which boldly defines a new frontier of flavors and always maintains pole position. Race to the Dark Side™.

Bronze 2011 Great American Beer Festival American-Style Black Ale
Gold 2012 World Beer Cup American-Style Black Ale
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 505 | Reviews: 105
Reviews by Ego:
Photo of Ego
3.2/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

bottle code:
48661550
04-03-13 (so fresher the hops probably would pop more but this was bought from a good store that has zero sunlight getting in)

eyes...
basically black, kind of really a super dark ruby tone if you hold it up to the light, quick one finger of head, I literally turned around to change the channel on TV and the head was gone except an O-ring clinging for dear life up the sides of the perimeter of the glass, oddly
lacing is quite good, a pretty good looking brew

nose...
licorice and molasses, muted pine notes, dry cocoa... reminds a bit of dark Caribbean rum

taste etc...
pretty full bodied, slightly prickling carbonation, kind of chalky cocoa and almost ashy (in a good way), the hops are muted but noticeable under the choco blanket, the flavor of chocolate/mild coffee lingers for some time, you also get some warming in the gullet from the
kicked up ABV

verdict?
I didn't love this beer. It was quite good enough to keep sipping but yet I never stopped and said "that pops" (you know, like buddy christ), so... I prefer this style to have a deeper flavor. This is not a bad beer by any stretch so I recommend trying it as it's take on the style might be more up your alley.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.06/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours from the growler into an imperial nonic a deep garnet color with a blooming lighter beige head atop,aromas are full on pine and citrus over top of roast and bitter chocolatet,the way it should be in my opinion.Sharp and pickly pine hops on the palate with some dryer earthy tone,some roast and bitter chocolate comes into play as well but he pine resin wins out.This is what I want and expect for the style and the left coast once again brings it,love this beer.

Photo of ExtraStout
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 ounce bottle, 75 IBU, 8.1 ABV. This brew is NOT retired!!

Pours fairly pitch black color with a 1-2 finger dense khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big grapefruit, orange zest, lemon zest, tangerine, dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, light char, toast, floral, light pine, and floral/roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of hop and roasted malt notes; with good strength. Taste of grapefruit, orange zest, lemon zest, dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, light char, toast, floral, light pine, and floral/roasted earthiness. Fair amount of roasted/pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, orange zest, cocoa, roasted malt, light char, floral, light pine, and floral/roasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice balance and complexity of hop and roasted malt flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a moderately creamy, sticky, and lightly chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent black IPA! All around great balance and complexity of hop and roasted malt flavors; and very smooth to sip on. A very enjoyable offering.

Photo of Beaver13
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle. Pours dark brown black with a big creamy tan head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is roasted chocolate malts with some rye notes.

The flavor is some sweet chocolate malts with a lot of acidic roast bitterness with some pine. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, a decent black IPA.

Photo of Billolick
3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle, $7.99 at DeCicco's in Mohegan lake, NY.

I see no bottled on or best before dating, although one reviewer did refer to this type of info...

Pours near black, under a large and lasting cafe au lait head. Gets frothy, and then leaves thick bands of stick, some sheeting and continued froth.

Milk chocolate, burnt toast and dark grains on the nose.

Tasty dark ale, they call it an IPA on the label, and the hops are clearly present but not really bursting onto the palate. More dark grains, smooth chocolate and again some char on the palate. Smooth, creamy and satisfying on the tongue.

Quality and highly enjoyable offering.

Glad to spot it and give it a try. Well worth seeking out.

Photo of ElSid
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The Beers of California

#88

A: Black like the name with hues of deep brown in the light. Foamy coffee toned head with variable sized, persistent bubbles.

S: A vein of brown sugar and dark bread run through the nose with notes of flowers, citrus, and mint.

T: Shakable foundation of brown sugar and bread which attempts to support the dank nugget of floral, piney, and citrus hops. Strong bitter finish with a mineral-like edge in addition to moderate warming alcohol.

M: The usual medium feel and supporting carbonation. Hop oiliness gives the feel syrupy linger.

O: Obsessed with the IPA, the west coast continues to spew out variations to keep the public interested. This Black IPA lacks malt complexity and sports an average hop profile. Overall, a lackluster offering from Bear Republic.

Photo of dwren89
4.59/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

IPA

Appearance: jet black with tan foamy, slightly creamy head, opaque

Aroma: dark roastiness with prevalent citrus aroma, slight earthy tones, some sugary sweetness as well

Taste: dark and roasty with citrus balancing notes, strong roasty finish with slight burnt/bitter notes from roasted barley and hop buttering together.

Mouthfeel: more IPA like than stout like mouthfeel, but some perceived fullness from roasted barley. Medium carbonation

Overall: Fantastic beer. I really enjoyed the polar opposite elements of citrus and roastiness coming together to balance each other and make for a thought provoking and beguiling beer.

4.5/5

Photo of williamjbauer
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap served in a pint glass

A - Black with a slight ruby tint, with a 1.5 finger ecru head with excellent lacing and good head retention.

S - Big hoppy citrus notes of grapefruit and orange with a lot of pine and some malts and toasted oats. Very nice.

T - Follows the nose, excellent flavor with chocolate and roasted coffee but a lot of hops. I really like this.

M - Full body, moderate carbonation.

T - One of the best at this brewery!!!!

Had it again at the first ABS meeting (second season) bottled, man this beer is awesome. I can tell my palate continues to evolve, I love this one even more the second time around.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look pitch black minimal ruby highlights peaking through when held toward the light, mocha tan head forms thick and lasts quite awhile, fine even lacing strung around my chalice as it dwindles. Aroma has dark chocolate notes, herbal earthy hops, along with some anise notes. Flavor has a milk chocolate, dark herbal notes, bitter baker's chocolate mild coffee roasts in the dark malt notes. Very strange mix going on here bitter baker's chocolate again, roasted malts nearly burnt marshmallows, herbal tea like bitterness dank earthy character from the hops seeping through the dark malted IPA. Mouthfeel is medium bodied slightly resinous dry finish from the dark malts and bitter hops. Overall very easy to consume a great Black IPA compared to most versions out there I'm usually telling myself this just tastes like a hoppy porter.

Photo of Auraan
4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a gorgeous deep black with a thin off-white head. It looks quite nice and true to its style. Scents of licorice, caramel malt, molasses, some smokey aromas, some faint muted pine and notes of citrus. A muted aroma compared to many hop forward beers but quite nice, very unique and enticing and quite different from other black IPAs I've tried. Flavor begins fairly sweet, with big hits of caramel and some chocolate. Moves into slight pine and citrusy hop flavors with a moderate level of bitterness, IPA level, alongside roasted malt and more chocolate. The hop presence is largest at this point. The finish is pine resin bitterness, with some chocolate, roast malt and black coffee. Aftertaste is pine resin, roast malt and black coffee bitterness mingling nicely. A good flavor profile, combining the roasted, chocolate and coffee flavors of porters/stouts with the caramel malt and intense hops of an IPA and doing so in fantastic fashion. Very nice. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, resinous and sticky with a semi-drying feel and a moderate level of prickly carbonation. A very nice feel that aids the drinking experience nicely. Overall this is an excellent black IPA. It combines the best aspects of IPAs and the porter/stout family into a very flavorful, uniquely aromatic and drinkable experience.

Photo of biboergosum
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bomber, bottled Jan 21, 2013. Muchas gracias to doktorzee for carting this back from Cali for me.

This beer pours a very dark mahogany-tinted brown colour, with three fingers of puffy, rocky, and creamy beige head, which leaves some lovely dense treeline lace around the glass as it slowly melts away.

It smells of roasted, somewhat charred caramel malt, bittersweet chalky cocoa, aged citrus rind, vegetal pine hops, and some mild spicy pepper notes - which make it hard to shake the idea of mole sauce. The taste is medium baker's chocolate, toasted dark bread, kind of musty, fruity citrus, last autumn's fallen pine combs, a twinge of cold coffee, and loitering vegetable greens. No earthly sign of that 8 points and change ABV.

The carbonation is lightly frothy up front, and quickly settles to a pleasant lilt, the body a sturdy medium-heavy weight, the dark ale really delivering here, and mostly smooth amongst a wee clamminess. It finishes quite off-dry, the judicious chocolate malt kind of throwing its heft around, while the hops maintain their pithy holding position.

A surprisingly malt-forward example of an ABA, especially coming from this brewery. Not a bad thing per se, but I was kind of hoping to see how these guys approach this hybrid style with their usual arsenal of hopitude. In the end, a decent, mildly hoppy dark ale, with a boozy punch that you sure don't see coming.

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours near black that turns a deep, dark, brilliant ruby when held up to light. The head is light tan and a finger in thickness with good retention. Strong lacing with great stick.

Smell - A strong mix of roasted malt and a citrus/pine hop character. Light cocoa notes. Traces of smoke.

Taste - Fair balance of light roast coffee and bittersweet citrus. Orange pith. touches of toffee and pine. While both the roasted malt and the hoppy citrus play prominent roles, I feel both come across as fairly bland; moreso the malt side, especially at warmer temps. The flavor struggles to find a real identity. It's delicious, but not ideal.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Semi-dry finish.

Overall - It seems this is a style that will promise forever, and never deliver. I'm always looking for that strong hop punch combined with a solid, well developed roasted malt backbone. I've yet to find it, and frankly I don't know that I ever will. I don't know that it's possible for those two extremes to cohabitate in the same beer. This one had the right balance, but missed the ideal strength of either end. It's not bad, but it's fairly muddled. I don't know that I'd give this one another go.

Photo of GilGarp
4.49/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber served cold into a goblet.

Black Racer lives up to its name in appearance. Black in color and with a creamy white head. It has good retention and nice lacing as it settles.

Aroma is nice and hoppy, fresh, and citrusy with a hint of the underlying dark malts. Very much similar to Racer 5 except for that last part.

Flavor is bold and bitter with a pleasant hop flavor and dark roasty malt base. It has good balance and doesn't get too bitter from the combination of hops and malt. A nice level of sweetness evens things out.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and nicely carbonated. It has good balance and depth of flavor to keep things interesting.

Overall a really enjoyable dark IPA. I figured if it was based on Racer 5 it had to be good.

Photo of Sammy
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on tap at the Tap Room. A story of Cascade, emphasizing the hop as opposed to roast. A sipper, as alcohol warming. Piney aroma. Some toothpaste taste, also apple cidery in the finish. 75 IBU Black with lace and some head. Not bad, worth a try, however not the best of the style.

Photo of RickS95
2.16/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

It's dark brown, almost black and the head sort of resembles an IPA. A tan, meringue-like head that looks like a cross between a bad IPA and a creamy stout. I assume that's the idea.

Almost completely devoid of smell. I stuck my nose into the drink and only then did I pick up anything. Mostly pine, literally nothing else is there.

I've tried and tried black IPAs and I just don't get it. Not sure if it's an acquired taste, but similar to a kriek, it totally misses the boat for me. It's like two competing flavors that work well individually, but are complete disasters when put together. Some pine and some malt. They just don't work.

Some resiny pine and some char. They provide a bitterness, but not in a good way.

I give up on the style. I can't get used to it. It just doesn't work.

Photo of prototypic
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black Racer is a dark chocolate fudge color. It’s not pitch black. Plenty of light cuts through and reveals burgundy highlights throughout. Nice color nonetheless. It’s capped with an off-white head that rises to about a finger in height. Relatively modest. It scales back to a surface covering quickly. As it descends, it leaves a lighter, sticky coat of lace trailing down the glass.

It certainly smells good! Starts out with a mix of chocolate and citric hops. It’s a good mix. The malt base smells like cocoa, dark chocolate, light caramel, and perhaps a touch of roasted malts. It’s more diverse than I expected. Roasted coffee or espresso is definitely in the mix. Smells a little burnt. The hops have a mix of citric and piney scents. Grapefruit and orange are the strongest. The malts and hops complement each other really well. Alcohol isn’t all that noticeable. Smells really good!

The flavor starts out with a blend of light caramel, dark chocolate, and cocoa flavors. It’s a little sweet, but not all that much. The chocolate flavor is definitely more of the darker variety rather than sweet milk chocolate. It tastes a little burnt, like espresso. That’s nice a nice touch. It’s subtle, but is a big positive. The hops are very flavorful, featuring citrus grapefruit and orange flavors primarily. There is a bit of pine that follows. It’s definitely bitter. Despite the wealth of malt, there’s not much balance. It’s honestly a bit resiny and perhaps too bitter. All of the flavors come together really well. This is good stuff. Alcohol is there, but never comes across as very strong. Finishes with a blast of citric hop flavors and cocoa. Did I mention it’s dry? Very dry?

The body is medium. Carbonation seems light and soft. It’s pretty smooth and easy drinking for a big beer. This bomber won’t be much of a problem.

Black Racer is good beer. It’s one hell of a bitter, hoppy Black IPA…that’s for sure. If you’re looking for balance here, keep looking. Having said that, it is tasty beer. Really tasty. Easy recommendation.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.69/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into an oversized snifter. Bottled 4/30/13. Didn't check at the store. Doh.

Appearance - Black, but brown at the edges. Small khaki head. Settles quickly with some legs inside the glass.

Smell - Muted grapefruit and pine hop aroma. Resiny. Chocolate roast.

Taste - Chocolate and hop flavors seem to alternate. Hoppy up front. Grapefruit first. Chocolate kicks in with some sweetness and then hops come back, but more of a resiny pine flavor. The very back end is coffee malt bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Medium-heavy body. A little sluggish. Medium carbonation.

Overall - I'll need to revisit this when it's fresh. Not bad, but certainly not what it should be, I'd hope.

Photo of HalfFull
3.62/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz, bomber poured into a large wine glass, the Black Racer pours dark and with ruby highlights. Offers a decent cap of foam and some muddled piney notes on the nose along with some light chocolate notes.

Taste and body are a bit thin given the expectations of the pour. Touch of light chocolate, slightly coarse in nature though not overpowering. Feel is a bit chalky but balanced with a touch of sweetness.

Offers a nice deep hop aroma but is profundly lacking in bitterness in my view. A hoppy black ale indeed nonetheless. Quite solid and worth a visit,

Photo of GBallHead
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Received this as an extra in a trade, prefer reviewing most extras (that I havent had) rather then drinking and forgetting like most beer.

From Bear Republic [Independent since 1995(I think)]
Black Racer IPA

Amazing beer, its a black ipa but seems to drink almost like a session or pale ale.

The hops are definitely there (my favorite styles of beer are stouts and ipas so this was an excellent beer to try and review) I mighttt have been a little intoxicated before drinking this beer but this bomber went down much quicker then any 12oz would.

Was not expecting this taste at all, thoroughly enjoyed this beer and its definitely worth a try, no matter what styles are your go tos.

I know this isnt the usual review everyone is looking for, but I didnt have the oppurtunity to pour it into a glass I left it in the bottle so most of the categories would be tainted depending on when/how it was tasted etc.

Points I awarded.
appearance 4.0
smell 4.0
taste 4.0
mouthfeel 5.0
overall 4.0

Photo of GRG1313
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasted at Bear Republic as part of our "full list tasting" New Year's weekend.

I have grown a bit bored with the whole "Black" thing. Everyone is now doing a black ale, lager, ipa or some sort of "black thing." I anticipated a typical black IPA and then I'd be done with it. Wrong!

This black IPA is a knock out. It is in my opinion one of the nicest, most complex but most drinkable black IPAs I've tasted. While a bronze winner at 2011 GABF, I'd give it a gold!

Black with a nice tan head that it retains longer than most.

Nose is aggressive hops with grapefruit and pineapple but with a really nice undertone of malt and roasted grain; just a hint but it's layered and complex and nice.

Mouthfeel is medium thin but with nice carbonation and character and with a feel that one wants to just keep drinking it.

Flavors are super. Big light coffee bitter with layers of bitter stone fruit and undertones of malt, carmel and roasted grains.

Finish follows flavor profile to just make this a wonderfully appealing and nice drinking beer.

Photo of Brutaltruth
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed form the bomber in a pint glass, this interesting black ipa pours a thick dark blackish brown with a nice tan head that dissipates to a thin foam with light lacing. Nose of heavy citrus, thick molasses, chocolate, bittering hops, and syrupy sweet malts. Flavors are up front with bitterness and sweetness as chocolate malts and hops make a play for the front. Rich citrus hop flavors of grapefruit and bitter orange mingle with molasses and heavy sweet malts that comes off extremely well balanced for such a heavy handed profile of hops. Smooth yet bitter aftertaste is lightened by crisp carbonation that lightens the mouth feel with sweet dark malts.
Intense and bracing.

A hop heads delight who looks for some balance to their brew with a malt backbone.

Photo of gillagorilla
3.59/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Max's (from notes).

A: Black with no lacing.

S: Sweet malts and roasty pine. Tiny bit of citrus. Smells like a barleywine.

T: Mainly pine and malt. A bit roasty. Kinda like an old IPA or bad barleywine. Nice flavor though. Malty with a sweet finish.

M: Slightly crispy.

O: Good, but not one of the better Racers.

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.57/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a fading, light-tan head.
Nose shows piny and grapefruit hops. Also some roasted malt.
Flavours are more aggressive with roasty bitterness, sharp pine and grapefruit. Some alcohol shows too.
Too highly carbonated for this kind of beer.

Photo of ocelot2500
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep cola color with an off-white head that leaves little bits of lacing.

Smells of roasted malts with some hoppiness to it.

Tastes of the deep roasted malts with hop notes throughout. Roasted malts lead off with some burnt sugar type notes and a little sweetness. Cocoa notes come through in the middle. Pine and grassy hop notes come through rounding everything out.

Mouth feel is medium with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, I find myself enjoying this.

Photo of EgadBananas
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: black, tan colored head, plenty lace.

S: some pine, citrus, roast and chocolate.

T: pine and bitterness, mild citrus, chocolate, roasted malts, coffee and flowers.

M: medium body, low carbonation.

O: nice ABA with pleasurable pine notes. Original racer definitely better, but this is good.

Thanks Alex!

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Black Racer from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 505 ratings.