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Red Racer Imperial IPA | Central City Brewers + Distillers

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Red Racer Imperial IPARed Racer Imperial IPA

Brewed by:
Central City Brewers + Distillers
British Columbia, Canada

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by astout on 09-26-2009

For Trade:
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Reviews: 65 | Ratings: 181
Photo of Sammy
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours orange body with sticky white head, and its Lacy. Smells great. This is a bit similar to the regular Red Racer with a lot more hops, fresh and very high and good bitterness from C-hops. A West Coast IPA but without a melange of hops just for bitterness. Malted down, but its spot on the style because of in-face bitterness.Above-average mouthfeel.
Growler from Brad.
Much better than the Autism bottle I had 2.3 years later, which was still good.

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Photo of thehyperduck
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

650 mL bottle from the LCBO; dated Dec 8 2015 and served slightly chilled.

Pours a clear, vibrant amber-orange colour, generating one finger's worth of frothy, off white-coloured head. It lasts for a little over two minutes; a modest, foamy collar remains, along with some patchy lacing. Caramel, honey, bready malts and raisin butter tart on the nose, along with notes of grapefruit, pineapple juice, orange, dank pine resin and floral hops. Noticeably boozy, too; not a bad aroma, but nothing really stands out to me.

Sweet, fruit-forward flavour profile that seems more well-balanced than this style is apt to be. Caramel and bready malts provide the backdrop, with fruity flavours of apricot, lychee, mango and pineapple following closely in tow. Big notes of pine resin, grapefruit and tangerine toward the back end, culminating in a surprisingly understated bittersweet, fruity aftertaste. Surprisingly restrained astringency for the stated 90 IBUs. Nearing full-bodied, with a creamy, smooth, generously-weighted mouthfeel augmented by light carbonation that gently agitates the palate.

Final Grade: 4.15, an A-. Red Racer Imperial IPA is considered one of the best DIPAs in Canada, and for good reason - it's really delicious, while also being unexpectedly well-balanced and quaffable. While this isn't the freshest bottle in the world (thanks, LCBO), it's still drinking nicely, and has convinced me to pick up another (hopefully younger) bottle in the future, if given the opportunity. Oddly enough I think I prefer the regular Red Racer IPA, but this is still a truly solid Imperial version that all hopheads should seek out and try ASAP.

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Photo of spinrsx
4.17/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz Bottle from the Orleans LCBO for $9.50 ($5 towards charity according to the bottle)

Appearance - Clear copper colour with an average size fizzy/frothy off-white coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for 5-6 minutes.

Smell - Hops, malts, caramel, pineapple

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel and hops. There is also some grapefruit/pineapple fruity notes and a bit of a booziness. It ends with a quite bitter hoppy sweet aftertaste.

Overall – It tastes like a beefed up version of their IPA.. which it should. A very good beer that is pretty drinkable given the high ABV. It's probably the best beer I've had from this brewer.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed 12 oz. on tap at Beer Revolution in Calgary. What a great place, truly. Arrived in a stemmed glass, a dark reddish amber color like strong herbal tea with around an inch of beige foam. High, high expectations going in, as this brew's little brother Red Racer IPA is one of the best hoppy craft beers in Canada (my opinion of course ... I think I can back it up). Red Racer smells very floral and piney, and this beefed-up take follows suit nicely. What are really striking though, on both nose and palate, are the heady tropical fruit notes. I get a shit ton of lychee, mango, and papaya, along with some classic American hop gooseberry "funk" and orange breakfast crystals. Mellow pine resin, peach, pineapple, salt water taffy, bergamot orange like Earl Grey tea, tobacco flower, fruit roll-up ... All kinds of layers here. Many of these elements can be traced to Citra hops, applied with a lavish hand. Some orange peel flavor adds citric character but in all honesty this is one of the more perfumed and tropical DIPAs I've had, with these components trumping the citrus and pine. The malts take a back seat to the hops but do provide some light toast and caramel flavors, just to remind you that this does indeed contain barley. As the tongue acclimatizes to the fruit flavors, more molasses and pine come through and a pleasant lingering bitterness emerges, almost medicinal like gin. Fairly fizzy but this somehow works, syrupy but smooth. Awesome and nearly beyond reproach. Maybe some will want more pine. This one is juicy and the booze is almost perfectly obfuscated. It is as if someone took Red Racer, kept much of the aggression, but rounded off some of the corners and layered on more tropical fruit.

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Photo of Derek
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First round of bottles, 9.5%. I've had it before but didn't feel it lived up to the hype... but I'll finally review it.

A: Deep gold with a white head, thin ring of retention leaves some nice lace.

S: Sponge toffee, pine, candied pineapple, apricot, papaya and mango. Not huge hoppy nose for a DIPA, but it's nice.

T: Plenty of dried mango, papaya and pineapple, some sponge toffee, good bitterness to back it up, plenty of piny resin on the finish. It certainly doesn't come across as 90 IBU or 9.5% abv.

M: Light residual sweetness has a slight hop acidity and drying alcohol finish.

O: Really balanced and drinkable for its weight. A well-crafted brew, and not a palate bruiser. I'd say this is more of a blonde barley wine than DIPA... but what do I know?

Another huge thanks to Rutager!

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Photo of jrenihan
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From the LCBO, labelled as Imperial IPA for Autism ($5 from every bottle goes to autism research). I don't see a date. It just went on shelves on the LCBO, so hopefully it is fresh, but you can never tell!

Beer is clear and amber in colour with shades of maroon. A good-sized off-white head. Pretty good retention.

Smell contains caramel, pine, grapefruit. More malt heavy than expected but a nice big scent.

The smell is a good indicator of what follows flavour-wise, but with a bit more hop dominance. Lots of juicy citrus, a dose of pine and a big caramel backbone. Bitter, but there is some sweetness from the malt. Very good.

Full bodied, quite oily, moderate to high carbonation level. Booze is more prominent than expected.

Overall, a very good DIPA. Very happy this (somehow?) made it to the LCBO, as I didn't expect to get to try it without a big dose of luck and travel.

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Photo of leaddog
4.24/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

650 ml bottle. $5 from the bottle goes to Autism research. Fantastic!

Appearance - Pours a dark amber colour with a finger of bubbly white head.

Smell - Nice piney hops, toffee, sweet malts, hint of dark fruit.

Taste - Piney hops, sweet toffee notes, dark fruits and tropical fruits. Good clean bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Overall - A great Imperial IPA by Central City. Fantastic that proceeds are going to a worthy cause. Good flavour profile overall and another winner by a great BC brewery.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

huge thanks for this one, went over quite well with the group, reviewed from notes.

pour was very nice with a rich light golden amber. Smooth and very cloudy, this thing looked like it was about to kick my ass, and as I was about to find out, it was defintley going to. Lots of ripe grapefruit and pineapple hops that just tore through the air as soon as I leaned in to it. Huge notes of hops dominated the entire flavor as well. Sharp flavor here as the resin like hops took all the moisture out of my mouth and left me parched, dry and looking for more. One of the best finishes I have had in a big IPA in a very, very long time. I would love to try this one again and will defitely be on the lookout to try it again.

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Photo of TerryW
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Seems as though we have a winner here. A very good beer with lots of interesting things happening.

Pours a finger high head on a red amber brew. Lots of spidery lace along the way, rings where you rest. Quite handsome.

Big grapefruit citrus nose, resiny pine. Appetizing. Sticky, almost oily mouthfeel, Unctuous. very interesting. Big hit of sweet malt and piney hops to taste. Initially a hint of something like licorice, which is odd, but works fine. Pine bitterness that lingers. Alcohol well hidden, but you can feel it pretty quick as you work through the bottle. Approaches syrupy, boozy as it warms up, so get at it while it still has some cool in it.

An interesting, a bit off the beaten track, lots of complexities, subtleties. Worth a try.

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Photo of polloenfuego
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From the 650 ml bottle into a pint glass.

Kudos to Central City for donating $5 from each bottle to autism research.

A: a nice hazy amber color, with a two finger head that fades giving way to a nice film.

S: the smell is pure hops. Pine and citrus all over.

T: The pine and citrus hops come through. It is a bit sweet with the malt coming through.

M: medium carbonation and body.

O: perhaps the best IPA I've had in a while. I found the flavor and feel of this beer to be quite nice. I can't usually say that I want to have more than one IPA at a time, but I would like another soon.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this one from Rutager this past summer. Cheers for the amazing box of happiness man!

From a bomber into a snifter
IBU: 90

APPEARANCE: Pours a small, medium looking, off-white head with good retention. Head recedes to a splotchy wisp and ring. Hazy burnt orange with slightly higher levels of carbonation. A faint, swirly wisp and ring remain but leave no real lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Pale malts, honeydew melon, pineapple and tangerine fruitiness, as well as some light floral notes. Really like the fruit on this one. Bold enough as well.

TASTE: Pale malts again, honeydew melon and some piney hops come out first. The flavors really come out nicely after the swallow as well, with pineapple, tangerine, sweet melon, as well as some bitter grapefruit and citrus lemon notes. Very fruity for sure. Some bitter piney hops and floral notes round it out, with just a hint of light sourness adding an interesting touch. Very flavorful, complex and interesting. A real treat from the west coast.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly mouth-coating and oily. Good feel that supports the flavors.

OVERALL: This was really nice. A load of fruity flavors, nice aromas, and a creamy, oily body that supports it all. The light sour touch was a little different and that may have kept it from being a perfect score in flavor, but nevertheless, this was outstanding and I'd love to have a fresh bottling of this again at some point. Really nice stuff that comes highly recommended. Thanks again Rutager. One of the better DIPA's I've had.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle, rebranded for the time being to benefit autism research, with 5 dollars per bottle going to said cause. The label's imagery sort of suggests that this beer is the 'missing piece(s) of the puzzle'.

This beer pours a slightly hazy medium copper amber hue, with two fingers of puffy, foamy, and fairly bubbly ecru head, which leaves some nice gnarly, Sleepy Hollow forest lace around the glass as things progress southwards.

It smells of acrid pine needles, bitter grapefruit and orange rind, sugary, toffee-like caramel malt, and more floral hops, that when combined with the lurking alcohol, get rather perfumed in nature. The taste is more big citrus peel extract and pine resin astringency, a bready caramel malt infused with brown sugar and tropical fruit - pineapple, lychee, and papaya come to mind - all further tempered by a soft field honey sweetness, and burgeoning alcohol warmth.

The carbonation is more or less subdued, but not quite inert, the body a sticky, at times syrupy, and decidedly hefty medium-full weight, with a quivering smoothness that the tacky hops have the temerity to poke at. It finishes on the sweet side, as the bitter side of the hops collapses under the barrage of pudding-worthy malt and across the board fruitiness.

A proper big brother simulacrum to the more famous Red Racer IPA, this offering duly amps everything up, all without losing the subtly and complexity that makes little bro so universally adored. Add in the closer to the heart charity work going on here, and there is certainly now no other reason to avoid buying, nay, stocking up on this one, eh?

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Photo of SebD
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: It has a nice clear orange/amber color to it. It has a nice thick off-white head that dies down moderately and leaves some nice lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of citrus, grapefruit, piney resins and sweet caramelly malts.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a some nice citrus notes, grapefruit, alot of piney resins and sweet toasty/caramelly malts. Very nice lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel: It has a low carbonation with a very nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavors and aromas.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle opened on 11.27.13

A - Pours a clear, very dark orange with a large tan head with great retenion.

S - Very hoppy pine and citrus. Some bready malt also.

T - Tropical fruits, melon, floral.

D - Medium body with a good carbonation, sweet finish.

O - Solid and very hoppy, some sweet malts balance out the finish.

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Photo of peensteen
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thank you Sammy for landing this one!

Pours a deep orange colour, nice white sticky head, nice thick lace on the glass. Smells hoppy, pine notes citrus grapefruit and a big chewy malt presence to balance it all out. Taste of lush malt, pine, citrus, lemon notes. grape like quality in the finish, dry like finish but not too dry, just right in that department. Good mouthfeel, slightly creamy, full body and as a whole quite nice. Very drinkable brew, right up there with the regular Red Racer nice addition of hops, good bitterness throughout. I could drink this all night easily, awesome stuff.

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Photo of Siriusfisherman
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Aroma: A strong mango-peach nose with some ruby-red grapefruit and pine. Some malt sweetness is detectable but the hops are bursting from the glass.

Taste/Mouthfeel: THe flavor is similar, lots of tropical notes, citrus, and peach. There is some pine as well. The bitterness upfront is smooth and the malt presence is somewhat sweet, adding to the tropical notes. I would not call it a sweet finish, it is more toward the drying side.

Overall, a stellar DIPA, my favorite beer from Central City, which is saying a lot. If you are looking for a very citrus foward or tropical IPA, this would be a pretty good one, but be prepared as it may be difficult to tame with such a substantial bitterness.

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Photo of kwjd
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks Sammy for getting this growler to Ontario! I was excited to try this since I love the Red Racer IPA. Pours a bright orange colour with thick white head. Really nice head retention, lots of lacing around the glass. Smells of strong citra (I think) hops, lots resiny pine. Grapefruit/citrus comes more in the aftertaste. Lots of pine all the way through. Bitterness is very noticeable, yet this is still quite balanced. I was enjoying this more as I went along and poured myself a 2nd glass from the growler not too long after the first.

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Photo of spree92
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at Central City Brewery. Looks like a real I2PA should. A cooper ale with a nice yellow tinge. There was some good lacing that was left behind. The first thing I did when i smelled this was smile. I knew I was going to like what was about to come. The citrus hops exploded in the sinus and on the taste buds. The first bitterness of strong hops was supported by a mellow malt profile. The perfect balance. 9%. Couldn't tell by drinking it. The alcohol was buried under a beautiful, heavy, strong IIPA.

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Photo of bobsy
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lucky to try this one, which was a leftover bottle from the Canadian Brewing Awards, where Central City performed admirably.

Pours a burnt orange with a skiff of white head that laced well. Big citrus nose, but with more than enough caramel to provide balance. Intense, with a slight hit of alcohol. Flavour delivers in spades, but remains expertly balanced. Lots of grapefruit, orange, tangerine and pine, but again with enough caramel and biscuit to balance it out. Nice bitterness and a dry hot finish. Heavy luxurious mouthfeel. Nicely done!

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Photo of DaveBar
4.36/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Purchased at the LCBO for $6.95 for a 650ml bottle. Served at 8deg C in a draught glass

A- Opens well and pours a 1" high white head films out within a two minutes or so. Very dark yellow colour and filtered clear

S- Oodles of hops here. Heavy malt

T- Lots of malt and hops here. Very heavy handed hops here. Malt is heavy and sweet. Nice blend. Gets a bit bitter at the end.

M- Dry and tart.

O- Nice overall blend. Has a wonderful full and rich body to it that shines through. I like this one. Would like to try it fresh.

Food Pairing

This nice little brew went well with....... Roasted pork loin encrusted in peppercorns and salt. Low and slow get the fat rendering.


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Photo of astout
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Was so stoked to find this at the Brew Pub today, a real treat since their IPA is one of the best I've had and definitely the best in BC (maybe Canada). I grabbed a growler of this as well so I may review that later. ABV was told to me by the server, if someone else hears something different or has more accurate please add, although she seemed fairly reliable.

Poured a rich Copper colour with good carbonation and a nice frothy head that slowly dissipates into a decent rim around the glass.

Huge grapefruity hop aromas up front with a resiny component coming through after, not much in terms of caramel or bready malt type thing here.

On the palate I'm hit with a bright grapefruit pith bitterness that leads in to a more caramel malty taste mid palate. Finishes with a ton of thick resiny pine flavours that really drys out the finish and lingers for quite awhile.

Has a great thick and heavy mouthfeel with a decent amount of carbonation, keeping it weighty to carry the high abv but not so much that it becomes difficult to drink.

Surprisingly sessionable IIPA in my opinion and definitely something I will need to make the trip out to Surrey for again.

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Photo of Rutager
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First time available in bottles, came out last week. Labeled "Central City Imperial IPA", 9.5% Alc./Vol.

Appearance. Pours a clear gold-amber with a finger+ of thick off-white head that fades fairly quickly, but leaves some beautiful lace.

Smell. Huge citrus fruits; ripe red grapefruit, bitter yellow grapefruit and oranges, chopped up complete with rinds. Plenty of pine and some cedar in there too with sweet caramel and nice toasty malts.

Taste. Big juicy citrus fruits, mango, peach and then comes the pine, waves of bitter pine sap and oily citrus rinds. Some sweet caramel malt in the middle there, but this is all about the hops and I love it. Alcohol well hidden.

Mouthfeel. Just below full body with low+ smooth carbonation.

Overall. A beautiful big sipper of an IPA. Loved this on tap for years, love it in a bottle.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap at a fairly recent 'tap takeover' by Central city at Beer Revolution in Calgary (from notes taken at the pub)
A - Very hazy orange, thumb of head, plenty of lacing
S - Plenty of citrus, some earthiness and a biscuity malt support
T - Lemon citrus, resin earthiness with some perfume, nice caramel malt support ads a nice sweet-bitter balance and a woody note to finish
M - Semi creamy, with a medium dry and bitter
O - big fan of the IPA, and their DIPA lives up to and surpases its bretheren, hop heads only need apply

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Photo of bylerteck
4.43/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Stoked to finally try this one. Available now in the LCBO, labelled as Imperial IPA for Autism.

A - Pours a nice hazy dark gold colour. Good carbonation. Two finger thick beige head. A wicked wall of lace remains with a good finger of retention.

S - Big grapefruit, boozy pineapple, some pine. Really juicy citrus.

T - Really nice grapefruit and pineapple again. A little bit of boozy syrup soaked fruits. Really solid. Mango juice and some serious maltiness for balance. It's balanced, but definitely let's the hops shine.

M - Nearly chewy. Full bodied. Good carbonation. Wild pineapple, grapefruit bitterness in the finish.

O/D - One of the best of the style made in Canada. I could drink lot's of this. Avoids being boozy and packs a giant hop punch without being too aggressive. Good stuff.

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Photo of Hat_Fulla_Beer
4.44/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Day 20 of the Parallel 49/Central City advent calendar. 330ml bottle poured into tulip. Looking forward to this for a while.

Pours a lovely deep honey colour with half a finger of loose foamy off-white head that leaves distant mountain range lace as it recedes.

Smells of pine sap and bitter citrus, caramel malt and a hint of menacing alcohol. Flowery hops.

Tastes of grapefruit flesh with honey, orange and lemon peel, pine resin and a thick sticky backbone of caramel malt.

Feels heavy and sticky with gentle carbonation. Finshes dry despite the mighty effort of the malt.

Verdict: Highly recommended. A big fat IPA that's easy to drink despite it's weight and strength.

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Red Racer Imperial IPA from Central City Brewers + Distillers
4.17 out of 5 based on 181 ratings.
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