Black Racer - Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Black RacerBlack Racer

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BA SCORE
88
very good

105 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 105
Hads: 505
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 4.33%
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: 105 | Hads: 505
Photo of Sammy
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
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. (286 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.96/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours an almost opaque super dark crimson-brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, burnt cocoa, and subdued hop aromas. Taste is much the same with char and citrus zest flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and easy to drink. (556 characters)

Photo of GRG1313
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
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. (1,042 characters)

Photo of kylehay2004
4.26/5  rDev +8.4%
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. (380 characters)

Photo of nmann08
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served from a 22oz bottle.

Pours a dark brown, almost black with an off-white thick head, great head retention.

Smell wise, pulling out molasses, some fruit, pine smell from the hops. There is an interesting smoke smell that is coming through, which I usually enjoy, but this seems misplaced.

It starts with malts, almost sweet, then turns into a bitter piney taste leaving a lingering smoke aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is fine.

Overall, this is an OK representation of the style. Its good, but so many better examples of better American Black Ales out there. (559 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is clear but very dark red in color and has a slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a thin beige colored head that quickly died down, leaving a large patch of bubbles on the surface, a collar around the edge and some lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of chocolate and roasted malts are present in the nose along with notes of underlying citrusy hops.
T: Similar to the smell, flavors of roasted chocolate malts are present in the taste along with a light to moderate amount of bitterness and hints of pine resin from the hops.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. The roasted malts lend some dryness to the finish.
O: This beer doesn't seem to be as roasty and bitter compared to other beers in the style but is pleasant to drink in its own regard and has good drinkability. (892 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
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. (1,405 characters)

Photo of oberon
4.06/5  rDev +3.3%
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. (468 characters)

Photo of mactrail
3.96/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The aroma is really appealing and different. It even smells dark, with the burnt sugar scent mixed with piney hop aromas. It makes me think of roast pumpkin and vanilla. I like this for being less hop-dominant. They call it an IPA, but I think it's correctly categorized as a Black Ale that happens to be pretty hoppy.

Quite dark, of course, with a handsome beige head. Pleasantly sudsy in the mouth. A little sharp and slightly slick. Huge nose of flowery and piney hops. Somewhat fruity, but no single flavor stands out. A little on the dank side but a more open and clean flavor for the most part. The touches of toffee, charred grain, and pineapple upside-down cake add to the complexity. Substantial bitter aftertaste, finally. From the 22 oz bottle for $6.59 at Baron's Marketplace, Point Loma Blvd. (806 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I picked this up at Monde, enjoyed chilled from a goblet chilled from the 22oz bottle shared with tenderbranson69.

The color is black with opaque appearance with 2 fingers tight bead and streamers of lace with good retention. The smell is very good with floral, citrus and tropical aroma of hops dominant with a nice malt aroma and a hint of alcohol but no real roasted odor. The feel is very good with moderately bitter feel and moderate carbonation, low sweetness and resinous hop texture with a semi-dry finish.

The flavor has a mild pine tinge with slight hint of char in the background with moderatly citrus flavored hops with a slight yeast fruitiness and light raisiny element but pine and grapefruit outweighs the malt strongly with some pithy flavor which makes the finish seem bitter toward the end with mild alcohol warmth. Overall I like this a lot, pretty great example of the style and I was pleased it met my expectations considering I think highly of the original Racer 5 IPA. I recommend this to those who like hop forward black IPA's (1,056 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.84/5  rDev -2.3%
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. (835 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.11/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Cost was $6.50. 8.10% ABV confirmed. It says brewed in Cloverdale, which I thought was strange seeing as Bear Republic is in Heraldsburg. Maybe I'm just not in touch with Bear Republic's operations as much as I should be. 1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard silver pressure cap served into a conical Samuel Smith's pint glass in me gaff in low altitude, Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery.

Served cold, straight from the fridge in keeping with directives on the label. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a 5+ finger head of nice light khaki colour, good cream, good thickness, and good (6+ minute) retention for the high ABV. Body colour is a nontransparent solid black; opaque. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Appealing for a black IPA. Pretty much what you'd expect; there's nothing unique or special here.

Sm: Smells like an IPA. There're delightful pine and floral notes. Some oily hops, maybe even some nectary notes. I get no roast at all. A hint of dark malts. Some caramel. An above average strength aroma. No yeast character or alcohol comes through. I'm excited to try it.

T: Piney hop notes, hop oil, floral hops, caramel, and dark malts. Thankfully, there's hardly any roast. No alcohol comes through. No yeast character. Fairly balanced for what it is. Cotton candy/candy floss. Not a whole lot of depth of flavour here. Nor is there much complexity or subtlety. Just a decent merging of a hoppy build with a darker build. It comes off forced and unnatural. This is one of the better beers in the style that I've had, but it still misses the mark.

Mf: Smooth, wet, and overcarbonated. Decent presence on the palate. Too thick. The body is too full for the lack of diverse or deep flavour.

Dr: Drinkable and enjoyable, but not a great beer in the style. To be honest, few are. But Bear Republic brings a sincere effort to the table and it's not bad for what it is. Even at its pretty fair price point for a bomber, I wouldn't get it again. Hides its ABV decently. I'll finish this bottle, but it'll take me a while. It feels like it has no reason to be a Black IPA - they could just as easily have made an IPA and it'd be better. That don't bode well; the style of a beer should be motivated.

C+ (2,353 characters)

Photo of smcolw
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
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. (785 characters)

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 4/30/2013. 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. (1,369 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
4.4/5  rDev +12%
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. (1,554 characters)

Photo of Halcyondays
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood II,

A: Pours a deep brown with medium off-white head, good retention and lace.

S: Dark chocolate malt and grapefruit, standard Black IPA smell.

T: Chocolate, hint of roast backed with citrus (grapefruit and lemon) with a hint of pine. Well balanced flavours.

M: Medium-bodied, resiny at times, pretty smooth.

O: A rather good Black IPA. A style I'm not the greatest fan of but I enjoyed this effort, not surprising since I enjoy Racer 5. (462 characters)

Photo of Billolick
3.94/5  rDev +0.3%
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. (703 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.69/5  rDev -6.1%
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. (691 characters)

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.67/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650ml bottle purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. I take it this is either new, or is seasonal in a season I've never been in California before, because I can't believe I've not had it otherwise.

Pours a deep dark nondescript colour somewhere between brown and black, with tinges of ruby at the edges. Head is wonderful: fine, mild and creamy in colour, pocked with bubbles that give it a liveliness. Body looks pretty tame for 8.1% ABV: quite light and very fast moving. We'll see how it holds up.

Nose is lively at first, with a strong, pungent citrus aroma permeating everything. This settles down once it's been swirled a bit, with the volatiles dematerialising quickly. There's still a dusky orange character, backed up with some faint nutty grain characters, and perhaps a little spiciness, although it may just be that zesty orange rind character. It was powerful when first opened, after it settles, it's decent, but it's not wowing me.

Taste is again, decent enough, but a little by the book. Mild entry with some hop presence running from front to back: but it's generic hoppiness, some bitterness, some citric bite and it doesn't develop as it goes along. In the end the hops just drop out, leaving an empty graininess standing awkwardly by itself. I think it's a little embarrassed.

Feel is fine. Light, but with some support.

Overall, it's a decent beer, really. But I was expecting something so much better from Bear Republic. Really, this should be setting the standard for a West Coast IBA, but it really feels like this is a phoned-in effort, and much more of a follower than a leader. (1,609 characters)

Photo of Zorro
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Clear black colored beer with a tall light brown colored head.

Smells strongly hoppy with scents of pepper and pine with some carrot and smoke.

Starts out mildly sweet with a malty flavor of mostly patent malt. Medium bitterness with a taste of carrot and onion. Pretty much an Imperial IPA with Dark malt added.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall and OK beer, Onion flavor doesn't belong in this style though. (406 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
2.96/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured a deep brown with a nice white cap, good head retention with some spotty lacing and a nice ring around the glass

S: Light toast, chocolate, musty grains, Earthiness and pine needles

T: An initial moderate roast with chocolate, a noted musty grains with ablend of citrus and pine hop presence. The taste of this beer in no way reminded of a black IPA or CDA. I was expecting a more hop forward punch.

M: Medium bodied, well carbonated.

O: I love Racer 5 and I really enjoy a wellmade CDA. This is not one of them. The hops seem to have been muted, the roast was moderate but this beer seemed to be sloppy in a way and there was a weird, musty graininess that really had no pop or freshness. (704 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.96/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a very dark, almost black coloring with ruby highlights around the very edges and a thin, filmy, light tan coating of surface head. Aromas of roasted hops, resiny and slightly charred, and a touch of tropical fruit sweetness. Flavors of dark, sweet malt in the backbone, both fruity and a touch of molasses, with a resiny, bitter, slightly fruity hops overlay and a kiss of smoke and roast. Very balanced, on a full, smooth body. Tasty brew. The aftertaste has smoke, bitter hops, and roast, as well as a touch of chocolate. Very layered and dynamic. Slightly bitter, roasty finish that lingers long enough to entice more drinking. (684 characters)

Photo of LiquidAmber
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Dogfish Head pint glass. Pours a very dark ruddy brown with a fine one finger light tan head with great retention and lacing. Nice lightly herbal, piney hops, hints of malt and citrus. Flavor follows, with piney, citrus hops, light and toasted malt very well balanced and integrated. Lingering citrus hop and light toasted malt finish. Medium body with light creaminess. A somewhat understated black ale, but the mellow balance of the hops and toasted malt is very nicely done. A great tasting alternative from some of the more assertive hop-forward black ales. The hops are pleasantly fresh tasting. I like the mouth scourging hop bombs, but I will definitely buy this again too. (694 characters)

Photo of DrJay
3.81/5  rDev -3.1%
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. (583 characters)

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.16/5  rDev +5.9%
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. (374 characters)

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Black Racer from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 105 ratings.