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Black Racer - Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Black RacerBlack Racer

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

106 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 106
Hads: 509
Avg: 3.92
pDev: 20.41%
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 106 | Hads: 509
Photo of BierJager89
4.68/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black with a creamy light brown head.

S: Citrus, some lemon, but mostly orange in the nose and a bit of grass and pine.

T: Roasted malt, orange, some other citric and floral notes as well. A touch of vanilla.

M: Medium bodied and smooth enough, especially for the style.

O: The Black IPA/Black ale, whatever you want to call it, is my favorite style of hoppy beer. An excellent example of the style. I've never had a hoppy beer I like more than this one. That said, I had this on tap at the brewery, from the batches they were going to send to the great american beer festival.

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Photo of Oakenator
4.6/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown to black, but with some opacity when held up to light. Full finger of head and some lacing on the glass.

S: Hoppy, yet malty.

T: Crisp hops up front give way to a full malt flavor towards the back. Mocha flavoring comes through nicely. Well balanced and very enjoyable.

M: Generous hopping keep it somewhat lighter but this is still a very full bodied beer.

O: Really nice and hope to see this one more.

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


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.


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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.

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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.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into SN ipa glass.

A: Pours a dark cola brown with a large three finger, rocky, light tan head that took forever to fade into thick chunky film leaving streaks of sticky lace down glass.
S: In your face bright hoppiness. I get pine, grapefruit pith and slight mint.
T: Follows the nose, super fresh and bitter pine, leafy grass and citrus with a minty finish. Aftertaste sweet with fruit nectar and a tiny bit of deep dark roasted grain.
M: Medium body, clean, bitter, slick and oily mouthfeel, soft even carbonation. Drinks well.
O: One of the best most hop forward black ipas I've had. Could hardly tell this wasn't a normal dipa.

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Photo of micromaniac129
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a brown black with garnet highlights if you hold it to a light. the head is beige and a bit small but it lingers on for quite a while and leaves generous amounts of lacing as it fades.
The aroma is fantastic. Richly aromatic with grapefruit and citrus hops. Floral hops add depth to the aroma which can be detected far from your glass.
The strong hop bouquet pairs well with the taste. It tastes as it smell with a rich and deep hop character. Citrusy hops and floral hops make for a fantastic taste and malts which played a minor roll in the nose are up front and in your face.
malts had a rich roasted taste with hints of molasses and licorise.
The feel is thick on the palate and slick and syrupy, I didn't dig that part. It's only mildly bitter which makes for an easy drink.
A well made well balanced beer thats easy to drink.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Transcribed from notes dtd Su, 14 July 2013

I had problems with my wireless internet, really with my home land line which I use for wireless internet and so the day became old-school pen-and-ink time as I really did not want to try and write my review through my phone. Needless to say, when my carrier tells me that they only have a skeleton staff on weekends and the problem will be fixed by 1900 h. on Monday, they are getting 86'd!

This was a gift from Ms. Vaccaro on my latest visit to Mari's 6-Pac 'n' Mor in Reading and I promised her that I would not drink nor review it right away. I guess that I have waited long enough.

From the bottle: "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."; "Brew Master Notes Keep cold, respect life, real ale is alive, yeast is good, serve at 45 - 50 [deg.] F."; "Sonoma County Ales Come visit us at our pub & brewery".

My pour netted a dense finger of light-brown head with good retention as the light faded in the gloaming. Color was cola-brown with light penetration only at the edges. Nose was roasty and smoky with an underlying mintiness from the hops. Mouthfeel was medium and the taste was liquid Andes chocolate-mint candy! Finish was liquid York Peppermint Patty. Taste the sensation while it is still available in limited release. This was probably one of the best of this style, IMHO.

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Photo of shand
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black Racer has a beautiful pour - it pours a very deep crown with a massive mocha head that retains very well. The aroma is strong on the grapefruit hops, and the taste delivers on that strong at first, but also provides a nice chocolate and roasted malt finish. Very well balanced and composed. The mouthfeel is great, it's big and smooth, and the drinkability is fantastic. Yet another winner from Bear Republic. Their hoppy beers are truly some of the best on the planet. This beer is maybe a little more malt-forward than expected, but when the flavors work so well, I can't complain.

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Photo of DIM
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

a: Dark chestnut brown; pours with a sticky, medium sized off-white head.

s: A nice combination of roasty cocoa and piny, pithy grapefruit.

t: Tastes as the smell suggests it would only more so. A surprisingly strong roasty char for some reason plays extremely well off the earthy, pithy citrus from the hops. There is a lingering charred pine tingle that I really enjoyed.

m: Heavy for an IPA I guess and just about right for a stout this size. Worked fine for me.

o: A style I tend to avoid, but I really took to this one. I think this drinks more like a hoppy syout than other Cascadian Black whatever whatevers I've tried. Regardless of why I liked it so much, the point is that I did.

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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.

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Photo of gpogo
4.26/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A- Black. Tan head that drops to a foam ring.

A- Sweet citrus hops, orange, mango. Some weird smell I can't place smokey sortof. When it was cooler I got some roasty malt smells, but the hops have taken hold as it warmed.

T- Initial bitterness on the draw, piney citrus hop flavors. Some roast malt flavors. The bitterness sticks around into the aftertaste with some slight chocolate. Some light grassy vegetable hop flavor with a spicy hit in the aftertaste. Slight alcohol warmth.

M- Medium full and super smooth. Not crisp, chalky, but smooth. Medium carbonation that you know is there.

D- Super enjoyable brew, maybe not the best hot weather beer, but enjoyable.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.26/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Tan single finger head without much retention on a nice red tinged deep black body. Very nice actually. Coffee, roasted malts, earthy hops and orange citrus for the aroma. Flavor of earthy hops nicely balanced with roasted malts although neither is especially memorable but the combination is excellent. Medium body, moderate carbonation and semi dry finish related to the coffee.

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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.

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Photo of wvsabbath
4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Serving Type - 22oz bottle

Appearance - Dark tan, black with a nice foamy, thick 1 inch head, tons of sticky lacing.

Smell - Piney, grapefruit hops, orange, smokey malts. A little cocoa and molasses, but not as strong as previous black ipa's ive had.

Taste - Starts out with a nice smoked malt profile, mixed with some sweet citric hops and sugars. Cocoa and molasses are prominent throughout the drink. Coffee and a licorice flavor add some boldness that works well with the orange and tangerine.

Mouthfeel - At first the tongue gets loaded with malts, cocoa and coffee. After a few sips the citric fruits come out on the palate, along with more malts and cocoa. Aftertaste is smoked malts, cocoa and citric fruits.

Overall - Very tasty and easy to drink. Has a unique flavor that other black ipa's don't have. The smoked malts and cocoa are a dominate flavor with strong citric fruits at the backbone. A nice, pleasurable drink that im glad I got to try. Bear republic keeps its rolling...

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

(on tap at Monk's Kettle, SF)

A: dark brown hue....voluminous, sudsy-loose head, lots o lace

S: toasted cookie, sweetish roasted grains, and refreshing herbal/piney hops

T: bittersweet treacle-ish and a mellow bitter/spicy, citrus hop flavor.... tasty residual malt sweetness - leans more toward a rich malt flavor than most black IPAs.... mild-moderate floral-alcohol finish/aftertaste

M: remarkably clean after all.... attacks the palate initially with a semi-sharp hop bitterness, but washes out with a mildly-dextrinous residual finish

O: as far as "American Black Ale"s go, this is one of the more enjoyable I've had... much more malt-forward (which I love) but with more than enough hops to balance yet not go overboard

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a DFH signature glass. About six weeks old?

A: Moderately creamy/sparse head atop a black beer that is immune to light.

S: Hops! And nutty, smoky scents.

T: Beautifully balanced and well-made. Roasted malts are hugely dominant, especially on the lingeringly bitter aftertaste, but aside from the charred, roasty flavours, there is a subversive American hop element injecting a disconcerting citrus into the mix. Overall, it's really great.

M: Creamy and robust. I'm a big fan.

O: A wonderful beer that comes highly recommended. Interesting, drinkable, and -- most importantly -- tasty.

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Photo of smcolw
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

The color of the broth is a deep brown where light shines through the edges. There's a modest, but lasting, beige head. Some initial ring lace--it's spotty lace toward the end.

Attractive blend of pale and mildly roasted malts. Excellent hop balance, enough to be present but not dominating. Good notes of chocolate and dry caramel.

The flavor mimics the positive aroma. The malt is dark in flavor, but without any burnt elements. I'm reminded of unsweetened cocoa (no milk). The bitterness is more pronounced in the swallow and lasts a while in the aftertaste, but it isn't overbearing. The body leans to the thin side, but the carbonation is appropriate. Overall, this is an extremely well-crafted, well-balanced beer. It would be very easy to keep drinking this one all afternoon.

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Photo of ckollias
4.21/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed this bottle in a Belgian Tulip glass.

A: Pours a dark blackish hue with some ruby highlights and an tan head frothy head that slowly dissipates down the side of the glass leaving a great trail and solid lace.

S: Hoppy bitter aroma with a raisin malt backbone

T: Tart and bitter hoppy flavor up front that mellows out a little and ends on the hoppy side of dry.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation.

O: Excellent brew – complex flavors and aromas and enough alcohol to make it interesting.

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Photo of KarlosT
4.21/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I'm definitely a fan of the Bear Republic beers, particularly their IPA's.

I really do like the concept of a dark, roasty, IPA-like beer, where one can really taste the hops.

Well done.

Had it at the Grill Next Door (Haverhill MA) as part of a flight.

Would definitely order again.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - pours a cola brownish black. A nice finger of mocha on top, sticky and full-bodied. A hint of mahogany/red through the body.

Aroma - fairly roasty, an early light pithiness that fades into roasted grain. Sets up all dark and toasty.

Taste - dark roasty opening, almost ashy grain. A brief but tasty glint of piny bitterness. The burnt graininess returns, a nice blend of the two flavors. The aftertaste goes dry and moderately bitter, nice balance for a big flavored brew.

Mouthfeel - a touch of smoothness, plenty crisp, nice sturdy body.

Overall - excellent black ipa, glad to have picked this up.

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Photo of jjboesen
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed this over lunch during a recent visit to Baltimore Alewife. Upon receiving this beauty, I was impressed: the body is an impervious tar black crowned with a splotchy cap of vanilla. There is a wispy scent of a cinnamon bun. The palate is slathered with dark chocolate syrup with small motes of Nestle Quik; all to be supplemented with minor bits of malt and charcoal.

As one who has come to enjoy this style, I found this one to be exquisite, cripsy and light with some hoppy chalkiness on the mouthfeel. Great quaff from the West Coast to be sure. As a bear might agree" Grrrr...! Now Boo-Boo let's go get that Pik-a-nik basket.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.16/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle opened on 7.7.13

A - Pours a dark brown with a smaller dark tan, fine bubbled head with good retention.

S - Roasted dark malt, hoppy citrus and pine.

T - Roasted chocolate malt with a hint of hoppy orange and grass.

D - Silky smooth body with good carbonation.

O - Chocolate up front then a hop punch in the finish. Not my favorite style, but I enjoyed this one.

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Photo of CHADMC3
4.16/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours an opaque black body beneath the foamy, mocha colored head, which is slow to, dissolves leaving a thin, yet consistent lacing grabbing the glass.

If you close your eyes you would swear you are drinking an American IPA with just a hint of roasted malt based on the aroma. This changes as the beer warms; the woody and herbal hop notes then take a back seat to the roasted, smoky malt and hints of milk chocolate. There are some sweet grass and pine notes as well.

The flavor is immediately roasted with a touch of char to accompany the roasted malt. There is a touch of milk chocolate but also a healthy portion of herbal and woody hops.

Medium to fuller in body, yet with the refreshing and crisp qualities of an American IPA with medium carbonation.

I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. A lot to offer the senses and up there with the best of its counterparts.

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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.

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Black Racer from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 106 ratings.