Racer 5
Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Racer 5Racer 5
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Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
IPA - American
Ranked #83
ABV:
7.5%
Score:
93
Ranked #1,651
Avg:
4.2 | pDev: 9.52%
Reviews:
2,404
Ratings:
7,968
From:
Bear Republic Brewing Co.
 
California, United States
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  376
Gots
  1,548
SCORE
93
Outstanding
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: 2,404 | Ratings: 7,968 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of ANIMOUL
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
Photo of RedBalloon
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
Photo of BillAfromSoCal
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
Photo of 1009
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
Photo of OldmanCothran
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
Photo of JohnniEMc
JohnniEMc from Pennsylvania

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

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?

Sep 08, 2020
Photo of SierraNevallagash
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
Photo of LarryV
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
Photo of tomocracy
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
Photo of beergoot
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
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!


Cheers.

Mar 31, 2020
Photo of JPVanderbilt
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
Photo of mpavilion
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
Photo of spectru
spectru from Florida

3.89/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Clear light amber, foamy white head, persistent, lacy. I love the head; Not a strong aroma, I wouldn't ID it as an IPA from the way it smells; Feels smooth without being flat at all. I like sipping through that nice head. The flavor is mild but not too mild, with no bitterness, a suggestion of hops. Enough of an aftertaste, slight sourness, to remind you you're drinking an IPA; This is a good beer.

Feb 04, 2020
Photo of EJPA_0425
EJPA_0425 from California

3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

If you like malty IPAs this is your ticket. Pours a brownish amber color with creamy head and pretty strong haze. Smells sweet, not like other IPAs like juicy raisins and honey. Tastes of a mixture of hempy hops and sweet raisins. Usually I don't feel so good after these sweet beers, but I felt pretty good from this one. Overall definitely not my favorite IPA. But enjoyable for one time.

Jan 15, 2020
Photo of hopphead31415
hopphead31415 from Virginia

4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is a 7.5% ABV beer with 75 IBUs and it features Cascade, Columbus, Chinook, and Centennial hops, the “four C’s”.

Look-It pours a light golden copper color with a thick foamy head that looks like fermenting yeast with its roiling boiling bubbly-ness. The lacing is thick and dry.

Smell-I smell strong notes of honey and flowers upfront and a bready sweet malt body. I notice some grassy and earthy hops as well. I get hints of lemon and apricot on the nose.

Taste-It tastes of buckwheat honey and clove along with noticeable floral hops. It gives way to a grassy, earthy hop component and herbal notes. There’s a spiciness alongside the carbonation and the mild bite from the alcohol. I get pineapple, lemon zest, apricot, mango, and floral notes like clover and rose petal. The caramel and biscuit malts are present as well. It is medium-bodied and leaves a hop resin coating on the tongue. It is rich and chewy, but not over-done.

Overall-This is an OG brew with a well-articulated execution that makes one realize this beer is the precursor to the West Coast Style IPA. It is delicious and well-executed.

Jan 12, 2020
Photo of hophead723
hophead723 from California

4.51/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got at Trader Joe's for only $9.99 a six-pack, when most places are a dollar or two more than that. Best by date in late June so this is as fresh as possible. This is my first time trying this for some reason. I have seen it on shelves for years but I think that it just didn't look appealing with it's finish flag decoration. I didn't know that it was so highly rated. Poured into my awesome Samuel Smith British Pub glass (also from Trader Joe's) with a laser-etched logo at the bottom of the glass for nucleation sites.

Look: When I first poured it, there was a tiny tornado of bubbles perfectly spinning from the bottom! The perfectly golden colored body is crowned by a slightly off white head of parchment colored foam. A pinky-thick layer of froth remains atop the guilded brew. Lacing clings to the side as you gulp it down.

Smell: Grapefruit peel and apricot dominate the aroma, with a touch of honey underneath. Malted barley, wheat, and crystal malts contribute to the enticing aroma. The malt base is designed to outline and accentuate the unique floral qualities of the Columbus and Cascade hops used to brew this masterpiece.

Taste: The taste is a blast of hoppy goodness carrying grapefruit peel, lemon, mango, apricot, light pineapple, and floral notes supported by caramel and biscuit malts. The slick and oily well-hopped body is silky smooth and glides across the palate, delivering its rich flavors with each satisfying gulp. Lingering fruity bitterness, toasty malts, and alcohol warmth augment the finish.

Overall: This beer is impressively good. I feel like it really is the precursor to all of these "West Coast Style" beers out there, so its an OG beer. Every gulp echoes the unique and style-defining characteristics of this immaculate brew.

Jan 12, 2020
Photo of Freonicus
Freonicus from Tennessee

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

Highly underrated beer. This is a spectacular beer. In my opinion the epitome of what an IPA should be. A nice thick, creamy, hoppy, delight to drink. Do not miss this one!

Nov 20, 2019
Photo of Ozzylizard
Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

$ 3.63/ 16 oz can ($ 0.227/oz) at Chalet Party Shoppe, Middlebury, IN. Reviewed 9/22/19.
“BB 07/28/19” stamped on bottom of can. On shelf at store. Stored and served at 42 degrees in a hand-washed and dried glass coffee cup.
Appearance – 4.
First pour – Yellow, hazy.
Body – Dark yellow, hazy and opaque. When held to the light, becomes a bit translucent.
Head – Average (Maximum three cm, aggressive center pour), off-white, medium density, average duration, diminishing to a five mm crown and a caldera-like cap. Lots of small pieces of three-dimensional lacing remain on the glass.
Lacing – Excellent. Three-dimensional rows of tiny to small bubbles, connected by short, thin columns and having short, fat stalactites. See also above.
Aroma – 4 – Conifers and a hint of malt.
Flavor – 4 – Good balance of piney malt (Or malty pine) with both noticeable and neither dominating. No alcohol (7.5 % ABV) flavor or aroma, no dimethylsulfide, no diacetyl.
Palate – 3.75 – Medium, almost creamy, lively carbonation.
Final impression and summation: 4.25. I’m sure that the room temperature shelf storage and being past date contribute to the decreased coniferousness and increased maltiness, but it’s still tasty!

Sep 22, 2019
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NeilSilber1 from California

4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours golden yellow with white fluffy foam cap and notes of piney hops. Nice classic iPA with floral and slight citrus like notes. Nicely served ice ice cold in frozen glass on draft. Good IPA classic!

Sep 22, 2019
Photo of adab123
adab123 from Ohio

4.07/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Racer 5 has the distinctive hopiness of an IPA while its harshness has been tempered enough that the beer can be accessible to many non-IPA drinkers. I'd recommend it for those new to IPAs.

Aug 25, 2019
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vinicole from England

3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle. Golden amber. Slight haze. Thin wispy head.
Hoppy aroma. A balancing biscuit malt shows itself. Some pencil eraser.
The flavour is nicely balanced again. Dry finish.
Soft carbonation.
A first generation AIPA taste and feel. Not many made like this any more.

Aug 11, 2019
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the_awesometeer from California

4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

The beer is a clear golden color and had a nice foamy white head. The beer is fruity and sweet to the nose. You can get a nice balance of malts and hops. There are a lot of fruit flavors but the one that sticks out to me is pineapple. It reminds me of the sweet pineapple on a Hawaiian pizza. It is followed by a mild dry bitterness. The beer is a great drink... I want pizza now

Jun 03, 2019
Photo of MaltyMagic
MaltyMagic from California

4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Slightly hazy amber/copper pour. Floral, herbal, spruce sappy, mossy, woody, juicy citrus hops backed by a brown sugar/honey/doughy and biscuity malt profile, nutty and yeasty. Perfectly balanced, throwback IPA. One of the first forwardly floral west coast IPA's that hit the mainstream market, along with AV's Hop Ottin. This one has stood the test of time, still one of the better IPA's out there. Opens up as it warms.

May 27, 2019
Photo of jrc1093
jrc1093 from Connecticut

4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Best by 9/26/19

Pours light burnt orange, slightest cloudiness, and topped with a pillowy, taut off-white head; very nice retention results in thick globs of sudsing trailing down the glass, as well as a dense, foamy cap and sizeable collar.

Aromas of caramelized oranges, sunflowers, apricot, pine, and grapefruit zest fly out front, while citrus and caramel malt builds on the back end and an earthy pungency is interspersed in between; there’s a delicate nuance of florality, piney hops, and citrus that has this quietly standing out.

Taste highlights a mix of candied pineapple, grapefruit pith, bitter, earthy pine, burnt citrus peel, herbal resin, and rice cracker shrouded in an overarching hoppy florality.

Mouthfeel provides a medium body, crisp and mostly dry, and steadily develops a condensed but punchy bitterness; underlying creamy kind of smoothness from a balanced carbonation; slightly oily toward finish leaving a thin layer of earthy resin to coat the palate.

This hits all the right notes and then some for a classic west coast-style IPA; concentrated bitterness, savory pine and grapefruit leanings, and an ultra florality that has it standing on its own. Prime execution and immensely enjoyable on all accounts.

May 20, 2019
Racer 5 from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 7968 ratings