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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: 514
Avg: 3.92
pDev: 20.41%
Wants: 14
Gots: 24 | 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: 514
Photo of Wasatch
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz. Bomber

Pours a nice black color, very nice carbonation, with a one-finger creamy tan head, which leaves some very nice sticky lacing. The nose is malty, with some nice hop notes, slight vanilla, and licorice. The taste is hoppy, malty, with lots of licorice, and slight vanilla. Medium body, ABV could be hidden better. Overall a tasty brew.

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Photo of Nugganooch
3.66/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle with my FW snifter glass
Notes from 01/16/2015

A: Dark chocolate brown edges concentrate into more of an inky black as you gravitate towards the body center. Not terribly viscous on the pour but opaque enough. Some lively dark tan suds froth over top and eventually settle out to a crown around the glass walls. Nice ribbons and chunky globs of lace get left in its wake.

S: Smells like I may have picked up an older bottle. More malt forward here with a bit of burnt caramel action. Lightly smoky on the roast with that scorched caramel presence and a touch of sweetened breads. Hops are coming off a bit stale to me. Laced with pine and herbals mostly. An old sample or really just not that great. Kind of disappointed either way.

T: Mostly sweet and roasty malts here. I get dark toffee with burnt toast and grains. Lightly charred and having a bit of spent coffee note to it. The beer brings through an astringent bitterness midway with some aged hop flavors of pine and dank herbal spice. Some moments of orange peel hidden in there as well. Alcohol is well balanced. Not a favorite in the style at all. A bit of a letdown for me really.

M: The body seems big for the style and heavier on the palate. Light cream texture to it with and even amount of carb to help spritz things up. Sort of astringent with the bitterness. Lightly drying in the finish with not much lingering action.

D: This was not the black version of Racer 5 I was hoping for. Hops were quite understated leaving mostly roasty malt and charred caramel. Chalking it up to being an older bottle. Will require a revisit if I happen upon this one again.

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Photo of JordonHoltzman
3.66/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

poured from a bomber into a large cognac glass. date on the bottle reads 4/30/2013
pitch black body, with no real head but some white bubbles that stick to the sides of the glass.
a great and well balanced aroma of dark roasted malts and coffee and citrus notes. the hoppy citrus notes however are not as prevalent as i imagined, perhaps because of the length of time I waited to drink it.
The taste also agrees that the hop flavors have faded a great deal. coffee notes, almost burnt roast.
mouthfeel is good, well carbonated.

Overall, I'm not sure what to think. Racer 5 IPA is one of my favorite IPAs out there, and had high expectations for this beer. I was planning on doing a taste test between this and Sublimely Self-Righteous, but think i'm gonna save that one for tomorrow. Maybe this beer had a different, and maybe better profile a year ago. I will have to try a fresher bottle and maybe re-review at a later date.

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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.

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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 Mavigo
4/5  rDev +2%

Poured from a bottle into a large mug.

A: It pours a murky, dark brown (almost black color) with a short tan head that lasts for a few minutes before evaporating to a thin tan layer, leaving small patches of lace.

S: Has quite an aroma too it, I can smell it without having to bring my nose down. Floral tones predominate, as I would expect from the style.

T/M: Initially, it comes off to me as sweet, like mollasses and brown sugar. It's full bodied, rich and fairly carbonated. It finishes sweet, somewhat syrupy, but has a good follow through bitterness kick from the hops, although it's mild.

O: Quite a unique beer to me. I don't think I've had a black ale that was also an IPA, though I'm not really a fan of the latter. Nonetheless, this was quite an enjoyable beer, it was well balanced and robust. I'd have it again and I'd recommend.

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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 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.

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Photo of Duhast500
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 1pt. 6oz. bomber into a La Fin Du Monde tulip glass.

The color is dark black with slight dark highlights. The head is two fingers of foamy brownish/tan head with some webby lacing left on the glass.

The smell is hoppy at first then has a dark malty aroma that pushes out. There seems to be a fight between which will be first, hops or malt. The aroma seems to be leaning toward the dark malts and gives off a biscuit aroma.

The taste is malty again with that same bready flavor. There is touches of fig and raisin in there as well. Toward the end the malt fades back to give off a citrus hop flavor that was a pleasant surprise. The end comes back with some dark malt but also some bitterness that gives an earthy spin to the flavor.

The feel of this beer is medium bodied with a nice easy drinking feel which is a slight surprise since it is an 8.1% ABV beer. It’s smooth with a nice aftertaste that hangs but does not linger. This beer has been better than I expected.

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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 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.

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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 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

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Photo of Ego
3.2/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

bottle code:
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)

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

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

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.

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Photo of Vec2267
3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Dark brown to black, ample beige froth with large bubbles, nice lacing

S - Cocoa and char dominate

T - Cocoa up front followed by piney bitterness, subtle roast/char on the finish

M - medium, creamy but not syrupy

O - An interesting balance and interplay between the sweetness of the cocoa and bitterness of the hops and the char. This is an interesting diversion from some of the more common styles, but nothing compelling.

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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 DrJay
3.81/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black, nearly opaque, but faintly clear with purple/ruby highlights. It had a thin skim and collar of tan foam that produced long lasting lace and showed good head retention. The aroma was full of roast, caramel, citrus, chocolate, and toffee -- very nice. Citrus bitterness cut through the malt, but notes of caramel and toffee, with a roasty finish, were still evident. Medium bodied with lowish carbonation and faint alcohol warmth, plus slight astringency/dryness from the dark malts. Very tasty. It had a bigger malt profile than I expected, but this matched well with the hops.

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Photo of ryannosaurus
3.49/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Very dark, light tan head settles down quickly to a light lace. Intriguing aroma notes of caramel and hops, taste has a bold bitterness, caramel, burnt sugar, herbs and roasted grains. Mouthfeel is sharp and cleanly wet. Overall, a nice mix of hop bitterness with both highly roasted and some sweeter dark crystal notes. I'm good with the 70 IBU bitterness, the hop flavor is indistinctly herbal and not really engaging me. Aroma just keeps getting better as the beer warms. Not typically my favorite style, but well crafted enough I will certainly try it again.

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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.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Belmont Station. It's been a long long time since I've had a Bear Republic beer.

Essentially black with very dark brown highlights, this beer is capped with a dense, light brown head with excellent retention and lacing. The nose is solid. Moderate pine aromatics with some citrus (valencia oranges) are present, mildly resiny with a nice pine oil-like pungency. Behind that, there is a rather pronounced malt complexity - creamy, roasted malt characteristics, a touch of charred malt and some dark chocolate. The combination of the hops and the roasted grain is intriguing, but this really is closer to a hoppy stout.

The palate opens with a moderate sweetness, grainy, caramel-like and unmistakably so, with a mild bitterness and moderate hop flavor. The juiciness from the hops coupled with the chocolatey sweetness from the grain really does bring to mind a stout with citrus peel. Coffee and cream are prominent, especially on the mid-palate. A little bit of a cola-like sweetness is present on the finish. Mildly sweet and with a moderate pine bitterness on the finish, this medium-light bodied beer has a fantastic creamy carbonation. Unfortunately, though, the palate is just a hair watery. While the alcohol is higher than it needs to be, it is not particularly noticeable. A solid effort.

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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 Brad007
3.46/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pitch black with a frothy brown head into my glass. Nice amount of lacing. So dark, that it compliments my glass.

There's just a touch of spicy hops in what otherwise resembles an imperial stout. Cocoa, cream and coffee. Hmm.

Flavors remind me of an odd snack that I enjoyed as a kid: potato chips and chocolate syrup. They tasted delicious together but they don't make much sense. Piney hops clash with stout characteristics.

Leaves an imprint of cocoa, coffee and cream at the back of the throat. Hops? They faded before long.

I may have some harsh words here but keep in mind, anything that's hoppy by nature should always be consumed as fresh as possible. I had a chance weeks ago to pick this up. That's my fault. It shouldn't deter you from enjoying this beer though.

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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.

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Photo of ONUMello
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Very dark brown with a one-finger tan head
S: Lots of pine hops, a bit of molasses and citrus
T: Matches the nose. Distinct pine initialy, then a fair amount of citrus, a touch floral and roasted malt to round it out
M: Medium-bodied with a nice crispness
O: Very distinct, especially with the pine. If I didn't see the color I would almost peg this as a full-bodied DIPA. I like it

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Photo of CA_brewster
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very very dark brew basically black with a very thin tan head. Light carbonation. The aroma is deliciously hoppy, picking up on a lot of molasses and alcohol. The taste is nice. It's an intense beer but the flavors are good. Lots of hop and alcohol bitterness. Malty molasses flavors are prominent but they are nicely balanced by some good hoppy characteristics.

Overall another great beer from Bear Republic. It reminds me a lot of Big Bear Black Stout though, they are already very hop forward with their beers. They really should have hopped the shit out of this one so it could be on it's own level. A good beer worth drinking though!

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