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Black Racer - Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Black RacerBlack Racer

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

106 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 106
Hads: 508
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 9.41%
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: 508
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 arizcards
4.06/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber in mid-July from Total Wine for $5.99. Bottled on .4.30.2013.

Beer poured black with a nice tan head that is leaving lacing behind.

Nose has hints of roasted malts and citrus.

Taste is very well balanced between the roasted chocolate malts and the citrus hops. I suspect there was some hop fade over time.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied and smooth.

Overall this is a delicious beer. I will need to try this earlier next year to see how the hops truly are. Delicious beer nonetheless...rates up there with Odell, Stone, Uinta, and Firestone Walker's versions. Recommend. (598 characters)

Photo of ssteakley
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After I poured this into a glass I checked to make sure it was an IPA. Yep...First thought after the first taste was chocolate. Very satisfying after taste pleasantly lingers. This one I will keep to myself unless it is a special occasion. Perfect beer to drink when the Longhorns are winning...gotta love it! (309 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 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 Durge
3.96/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Solid black in appearance with a fair tan head that breaks up to a firm ring leaving a solid trail of lace. The aroma brings out intense brown bread charcoal malt and vegetable pine hops with a minty grass edge. Nutty and leafy malt and hops jump out on the flavor. These a sharp pine idea here so the hops definitely come forward. It seems a touch astringent in a sort of chemical sense after a while but generally it holds up well. The body is medium or better and the feel is fairly chalky dry with tiny bubble providing an effective carbonation. This was enjoyable although it faded on me a bit with the hop recipe here. (624 characters)

Photo of ckollias
4.21/5  rDev +7.1%
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. (504 characters)

Photo of DIM
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
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. (693 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 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 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 dwren89
4.59/5  rDev +16.8%
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 (647 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 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)

Photo of prototypic
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
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. (2,082 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 williamjbauer
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
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. (630 characters)

Photo of macrosmatic
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Poured from bomber into a CCB pint glass.

A: Very dark brown, nearly opaque, with a one-finger tan silky head and almost no carbonation bubbles visible.

S: Chocolate and roasted malts, a bit of coffee, and some citrus hops - but there isn't much hoppy aroma.

T: Chocolate and roasted malt-forward, but with significantly more grapefruit and citrus rind hoppiness than the nose. Really ends up a nice interplay of hops and bitterness and malts. Good amount of bitterness in the hang.

M: Medium to heavy body, low alcohol presence, and average carbonation sensation.

O: This is another good offering from Bear Republic. It falls short of the best Black IPAs around, but I'm glad to see it on the shelves here. (733 characters)

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

Bomber from the Potsdam NY IGA for 6.99+tax

Appearance - Dark brown colour with an average size fizzy/frothy beige head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some decent lacing. The head lasted for 3-4 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, grains, hops, grapefruit

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, chocolate, and roasted/burnt nuts. There are also some grapefruit and hops, but not as much as I would have hoped. It ends with a roasted malty slightly hoppy aftertaste.

Overall - I was really excited for this one.. but I expected more juiciness/hops/west coast flavour. These flavours are there, just not all that pungent. It seems more balanced towards the malty/roasted side flavour wise. Still good, just no Wookey Jack. (818 characters)

Photo of beagle75
3.25/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber into a shaker pint glass.

A: Slightly hazy, dark brown color with one finger of light beige foam head. Heavy lacing remains on the glass.

S: Restrained chocolate roast is balanced with equally mild piney hops. Weak overall, but showing potential. No alcohol is detected.

T: Begins barely off-dry, with slightly scorched malt that otherwise lacks roasted qualities. Hops aromatics consist of a combination of floral herbs and grapefruit peel that are apparently muted and transformed by the proximate malts to end up as a flavor close to dark berry. Acidity is mild into the middle where malt is decidedly brown-cakey and slightly unctuous. Aromatic pine persists in the mildly bitter finish. No alcohol is detected.

M: Medium viscosity, slightly creamy and astringent on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: It is difficult now to avoid comparing new black IPA recipes to Firestone Walker's outstanding Wookey Jack--and in this case, the comparison is not a favorable one. Black Racer underwhelms the senses for such a strong beer at 8.1% abv. It is not a matter of errors, but rather a misbegotten role of easy-drinker being forced upon it. Racer 5 may be able to pull off such a role, but this beer seems caught in no-man's land. (1,264 characters)

Photo of CHADMC3
4.16/5  rDev +5.9%
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. (867 characters)

Photo of GilGarp
4.49/5  rDev +14.2%
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. (747 characters)

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
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. (616 characters)

Photo of t420o
2.91/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bear Republic Black Racer

Reviewed April 3, 2013

A- pour produces a 2 finger frothy mocha head with good retention. Beer is brown with chestnut hues. Good lacing. 4

S- toasty, chocolate, sweet, a little boozy, hops are very subdued. 3

T- too sweet, chocolate and molasses, biting bitterness that didn't play that well off of the heavy malts. Boozy. Would have liked more citrus and pine from the hops rather than just bitterness. 3

M- syrupy. Medium body. 2.5

O- I love Bear Republic, and until now hasn't had a beer from them that I felt was a "miss". This definitely missed the mark. I love Racer 5 and Racer X, but won't revisit this one. 2.5

C- (655 characters)

Photo of Flounder57
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass at the Avenue in Allston.

Appearance: This beer poured a small mocha head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a pitch black color with no clarity or bubbles seen coming up through the glass. Super nice mocha lacing on the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Roasted notes, chocolate, smoke, citrus, and resiny piney hops.

Taste: Same as above with burnt flavors, ash, and bitterness in the end. Pretty characteristic of black ales.

Mouthfeel: light camp fire notes, a little chewy, full bodied, and low to medium carbonation.

Overall: Pretty nice black ale. Another one to add to the lineup. (619 characters)

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