Racer 5
Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Racer 5Racer 5
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IPA - American
Ranked #86
Ranked #1,805
4.2 | pDev: 9.52%
Bear Republic Brewing Co.
California, United States
Racer 5Racer 5
Notes: This hoppy American IPA is a full bodied beer brewed with American pale and crystal malts, and heavily hopped with Chinook, Cascade, Columbus and Centennial. There's a trophy in every glass.

2009 Great American Beer Festival® American-Style Strong Pale Ale – GOLD
2009 Colorado State Fair – Best of Show
2006 Great American Beer Festival® American-Style Strong Pale Ale – SILVER
2005 Great American Beer Festival® American-Style Strong Pale Ale – SILVER
1999 Great American Beer Festival® India Pale Ale - GOLD
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Reviews: 2,418 | Ratings: 8,009 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of KT3418
KT3418 from Colorado

3/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is my first time trying it in 2021 and I could tell it was gonna be old school but this is just bore snore. Medium body with extremely light flavor. This is being dominated on by other breweries. After reading some reviews it sounds like fresh on tap is the preference instead of the cans and bottles on the shelf. Which makes sense. This can is 3 months old and just showed up to the store.

Nov 21, 2021
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Thomas_Wikman from Texas

4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look: golden with a thick white head

Aroma: white bread, caramel, citrus, pine resin

Flavor: Slightly sweet, caramel and bready malts, citrus, grapefruit and slight pine resin, nicely balanced

Body/Overall: medium body

Sep 01, 2021
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NCSapiens from Indiana

4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I ordered this on tap in Maui of all places and had low expectations going in. Wow did this blow those low expectations out of the water. Malty, citrusy, and bitter, the way an IPA should be. Since then I bought a not-so-fresh six pack, and it wasn’t great. I believe this partially explains the high variance of scores on this site. This beer is underrated for a fresh pour and overrated for a shelf turd. And while that is always the case, it is especially an issue with Racer 5.

Aug 22, 2021
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jdurey from Korea (South)

3.6/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 335ml bottle. About 90 days old since the beer made the journey to Korea. Minimal head. Poured amber and slightly transparent for an IPA. Smells a bit sweet for the style. Taste didn’t knock me out but not bad. Nice balance of bitterness and slightly fruity. Feels full bodied. Little to no aftertaste. Overall a good choice but due to the limited availability here I’ll seek out other offerings from Stone.

Jul 19, 2021
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dacrza1 from New Jersey

4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

DATE: July 10, 2021... OCCASION: settling in for a comfortable evening after a long, enjoyable lake trip--why not unwind with a classic?... GLASSWARE : Maudite snifter... this pours a beautiful, glowing orange amber body alive with effervescence... its two-finger head is white and staunch, settling to a lacy ring... robust resin and pine, pineapple, lime and mango... hard fruits mix with thick malts to produce an aromatic balance to the hops--an aggressive yet controlled offering... a bit boozy too, but not at all intrusive or off-putting... active, lively at its introduction, strong in its presence and lasting in its finish... its citrus and resin shine here, bright and thick, puckerish and chewy... the grapefruit especially resounds in each sip, thick and appreciable... big, bold fruits make this worth returning to, a classic that is accessible, both in stores and in profile...

Jul 11, 2021
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jeffdr123 from Florida

4.04/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a bottle at the Sixteen Mile House in Millbrae. Pours a cloudy amber. They claim to have launched the hops competition, and I believe it. Piney and grapefruit. The hops lingers, so I take a while between sips.

Jun 21, 2021
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jjamadorphd from Florida

4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Two words can describe this IPA - juicy and hoppy...

This was a huge hop-punch to my mouth - very juicy, and enough booze to pull it all together in a nice looking beer. I was also impressed with the full-bodied mouthfeel.

On the bottle it claims it helped start the on-going hop craze. After having this, I have to agree...

May 03, 2021
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BerkeleyBeerSleuth from California

4.19/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed from 22 oz. bomber. No visible date on bottle. This is one I used to drink a lot in the early days of exploring craft beer. It's a local staple at bars in the bay area. I always remember it being a brightly flavored IPA. Let's dive into this glass. Beautiful amber color with a rich creamy head. Beautiful lacing all over the glass. Moderate carbonation. Aroma of pine, orange marmalade, lemon zest and candied malts. I have a feeling this isn't the freshest it could be but it seems approachable enough. The malts give off a slight bready smell. Good taste. Bright fruit flavors and a decent amount of bitterness backed up by a strong malt foundation. Slightly refreshing and the alcohol isn't discernible at 7.5%. This beer can be dangerous if you put too many back without thinking because it's that drinkable. I go back for a second chug and it is just as refreshing as the first. A very well balanced moderately hopped example of a west coast IPA. In a time before double IPA's and triple IPA's this was the go to strong ale along with Mendocino brewery's Eye of the Hawk.

Apr 27, 2021
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Specialmick from Connecticut

4.06/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look...amber light brown and clear with medium carbonation
Smell...the faint smell of hos ,citrus dank
Taste...sweet malt front end bittererer (haha) back end . A great combination of earthiness and dry and citrus. Resin like stickiness. Interesting
Feel...thin not juice like. Appropriate carbonation leaving a bit of lacing. prickly mouthfeel .Excellent
Overall...this is very good and would buy anytime wanting a very well made earthy IPA. Nice to know that this is around and will continue to try their beers. They have 3 or 4 variants around here and will try them all because the pricing is realistic.

Apr 14, 2021
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Sigmund from Norway

3.5/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

RBESG 2016 in Barcelona, shared bottle at Bodega Fermin. Deep golden colour. Aroma of fruity hops and caramel. Tolerably well hopped flavour, mid between sweet and dry.

Mar 20, 2021
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brewme from Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reminded of this beer by the How many Beers of Fame have you reviewed? post. I was surprised that I have not reviewed this before, have had at least a case, a great beer

Mar 20, 2021
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AElfwine_Nerevar from Connecticut

4.36/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

BB: 05/08/21
Consumed: 02/02/21

L: Pours a deep gold to pale amber with excellent clarity. An aggressive pour gives a 2 finger pillowy white head. The head has good retention and leaves nice lacing on the way down.

S: Pine, floral notes, hints of citrus, a barely perceptible grainy malt character, and caramel malt.

T: Citrus on the front end. Floral qualities mixing with grainy malt and caramel malt in the middle. The sweet caramel malt continues towards the back and finish. On the back end I get resinous pine mixed with sweet caramel malt that is blunted and overcome with a nice bitter citrus rind finish.

F: This has a medium body with medium-low carbonation. The mouthfeel is creamy with a nice drying finish.

O: Where have you been all my life? Mostly kidding, but I have been living in a purgatory of NEIPAs and this was just what I needed. I will have to revisit some of the classic C-hop beer like Two-hearted to see how this compares. Overall, a finely crafted American IPA (it's not bitter enough for me to classify it as a WCIPA) that checks all the right boxes. It is a bit sweeter than some but the sweetness is blunted and balanced by the bitter, drying finish. I would recommend trying this if you get a chance.

Feb 02, 2021
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ANIMOUL from Vermont

4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour moi, this is one of the best beers (for the style). Smooth with great malt & hop balance, subtle sweetness, and a very appealing look. One of the better readily available IPAs. Seek... and drink

Nov 01, 2020
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RedBalloon from Washington

4.71/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

22oz bottle. I believe there's a best by date of 11/27/20 in Julian on the bottom of the bottle, but this is an ambiguous guess. Poured into a Teku.

1" creamy white head. Color is an opaque orange, light amber. Tightly packed bubbles in the head persist for quite some time before receding.

Aroma is mostly pine, a moderate amount of biscuit malt and some fresh cut grass.

Taste is more pine. It's well balanced with the malt flavor, but assertively hop-forward.

Medium-bodied. Finishes dry and bitter. Good carbonation.

This is a classic West Coast IPA and a rubric for its style. It's not over the top with its hop flavors, but they are present and respectable.

Oct 26, 2020
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BillAfromSoCal from California

4.44/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle purchased off a room temp shelf at Trader Joes, despite the label stating to "keep cold". I don't see a bottling date. Pours a nice gold/amber with the merest hint of haze, and a nice voluminous, relatively persistent head. Not much lacing. I like this one a lot because of the nice balance of malts and hops. Nicely balanced mouthfeel, too with just right amount of carbonation, viscosity, and general feel. To me this is the classic example of a west coast style IPA by which others can be judged. Widely available, relatively inexpensive.

Oct 24, 2020
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1009 from Massachusetts

4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

West cost perfection. Bitter at the start with good bite and oh so smooth down the back of the throat. Just delightful. As I sat on my front porch and just watched the world go by on a crisp fall afternoon, this dazzled my tastebuds with new flavors after every sip. Truly a beautiful beer. Cheers to the Bear Republic for a fantastic brew!

Oct 08, 2020
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OldmanCothran from California

3.84/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

L: Dark brown glass 22, well known checkered flag/red lettered label (always makes me think of the “5” taps you might see out), poured cloudy orangish amber with a thin head that faded to fine lacing.
S: Hoppy, skunky, sweet, dense
T: Nicely balanced IPA, hovers really evenly between hoppy, sweet, bitter flavors with a unique and crisply boozy if a bit skunky after taste. Sometimes too sweet for me, especially in a session.
O: If seen on tap and in the mood for an IPA, one and done situation, you can’t really go wrong.

Sep 13, 2020
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JohnniEMc from Pennsylvania

4.52/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A 22 oz. bottle eventually emptied into a clear pint glass poured out a beautiful golden amber beer. There came with it, a nice bouquet of malts and hops. A small but long lasting white head and some glass lacing completed a beautiful picture. This classic delivers some wonderful balances; between the malt base and hops and within the hops themselves. The result is one of the best standard AIPAs made, although it may be categorized as a West Coast IPA. Regardless, when it's available, get it. Racer 5 is consistently enjoyable; from visual, to aroma, to first taste, to feel and to the dry and slightly bitter aftertaste.
Addendum: I never read other reviews before I write mine. I was amazed there were so many low scores. Then I noticed, many were from years ago. The most recent eight all rate this beer above 4. Could something have changed, i.e. recipe or shipping methods.
Update, June 2021: Ratings continue to improve as the rare opportunity to sample this from a tap in Philadelphia has occurred. Even more bold on both the malt and hop categories, this is one amazingly taste-filled AIPA.

Sep 08, 2020
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SierraNevallagash from Maine

4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bear Republic - Racer 5

Cannot believe this showed up in Maine. When I lived in California, this was like, a defining beer of my coming-of-age years. It has been a while, and I can't wait.

Pint can - BB 11/14/20 poured into an IPA glass at fridge temp.

Pours a truly brilliant amber colour. Not IPA amber, or amber ale red - this is like, a glass of amber. Nearly glowing orange. She's super clear - not crystal, but certainly West Coast. Some lazy effervescence, and a fibger of sticky off-white head with fair retention, leaving seriously webby lacing behind.

Nose: Man oh man. California. This really highlights the traditional style. Very caramel malt forward. No pilsner grain or oats - straight caramel malt, and resinous hops. Tangerine, pine, and an interesting, almost apple pie/cinnamon spice note in the background. It's simple, but it's unique in that it's actually an outlier now. I haven't smelled an IPA like this in...Well, a long time. It's just damn good.

Palate: Instantly, I recognise something about this. Pliny. It hits with a big caramel malt backbone - only slightly sweet, and then this blast of Pacific Northwest resinous hoppy goodness. Pine, resin, some subtle tangerine and grapefruit, and that classic boiled Sincoe note that defines Pliny. The beers are similar. This lacks the insane floral quality of Pliny, and delivers more of that seriously resinous Chinook-type Yakima hop bite, and this is a touch drier. The finish brings a digging bitterness that isn't overwhelming, but it damn well shows you what kind of beer it is. That subtle spice note threads through, and then you're left with lingering bitter hop oils. Timeless.

Mouthfeel/Body: At 7.5% ABV, this is seriously crisp. The sweet caramel malt character is definitely more dialed back than many other WCIPAs, and that slightly drier quality really boosts the drinkability. It isn't sticky or cloying, the effervescence is zippy and lively, and the bitter finish just sets you up for that next sip. Hop oils linger.

Overall: Listen, I'm not going to pretend like this is the best IPA in the world. It isn't. However, in the midst of an overwhelming quantity of hazy, fruity New England IPAs (I style I do enjoy), this just cuts like a knife, and shows you how rare these actually are. That local New England take on a "West Coast Style IPA" does not touch this. I almost think it's incapable of it. This is true back-to-basic roots right here. The craft IPA in its original, stripped-down, minimalist form. It truly shines like a glowing amber gem in a foggy, foggy world. This beer exceeds in a way many others cannot, simply by being it's simple, effortless self. A true classic.

Aug 27, 2020
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LarryV from Massachusetts

4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can - pours a lovely amber color with a creamy, long lasting head. Mellow nose of hops and malt. Excellent balance - hoppy, but really nice malt backbone that tames the hops a bit without being excessively sweet, classic WCIPA profile.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy - leaves a lingering hop flavor on the palate in a good way. Excellent and will definitely buy it again.

Jun 26, 2020
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tomocracy from Washington

4.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Really solid og IPA. I love citrusy ipas but can appreciate an untouched pure brew the way it was originally intended. Not overly piney with a touch of sharp citrus like a grapefruit. Nice and sharp but not too bitter like some double ipas. One of the few remaining og west coast ipas remaining on earth.

Jun 18, 2020
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beergoot from Colorado

4.07/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Clear, dark gold body; outstanding carbonation, very tiny bubbles; thick head, dense and creamy. Classic hop bitterness with a touch of dankness. Beautifully balanced flavors; light and tasty malt base; mildly spicy and peppery; clean and bitter hop presence. Medium body; crisp and bright with an excellent hop bite; slightly sweet yet primarily finishes with a dry quality.

BB 08/06/20 per the can bottom.

I may have had this beer in the past, but I honestly don't recall if I have or not. Regardless, this is a classic west coast IPA, the style I prefer over the latest haze-craze IPA versions. And this will be one I'll be going back to. It is delicious and refreshing...

Jun 11, 2020
Photo of ChadSchwenk

5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the best out there! Rich In flavor and a great tasting beer. Whenever I see this beer I pick it up. It especially tastes good on a hot summer day after mowing the lawn. Sit back and enjoy one of these anytime, you won't regret it!


Mar 31, 2020
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JPVanderbilt from Virginia

4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Racer 5 is an unusually good IPA. It has the flavor intensity of a double IPA though it's not. And the overall quality is excellent - an intense mango, papaya, citrus, semi-malty power punch of flavor. If you are into IPAs, you have to try this old favorite of mine. Someone at Bear Republic Brewing knows what the hell they're doing.

Mar 13, 2020
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mpavilion from California

4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed a pint on tap. Outstanding flavor — the initial profile is somewhat on the sweet side, but expands into a malty and complex flavor, with a nice hop bite on the finish. Gorgeous color, perfect lacing. I’d order this again anytime.

Feb 27, 2020
Racer 5 from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 8009 ratings