Racer 5
Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Racer 5Racer 5
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Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
American IPA
Ranked #76
ABV:
7.5%
Score:
93
Ranked #1,526
Avg:
4.2 | pDev: 9.52%
Reviews:
2,384
Ratings:
7,914
From:
Bear Republic Brewing Co.
 
California, United States
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  373
Gots
  1,530
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
Reviews: 2,384 | Ratings: 7,914 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by jrc1093:
Photo of jrc1093
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.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of BethanyB
4.06/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Look: Poured from a bottle into a goblet. It was a cloudy medium amber, with a giant, fluffy white head that slowly melted into a snowy hillock. I throughly cleaned and dried another glass and poured a second to test the clarity. Still cloudy.

Smell: A masterfully balanced C-hop tree from top to bottom: earth, grass, wood, and citrus. Some tropical fruit scents and a piercing smell of white pepper make for a captivating garnish.

Taste: One of those nice, round balls of complexity that fascinates as a collaboration rather than a conglomeration. Toasted, buttery malt is topped with grapefruit, mint leaves, and rosemary. A small dose of peach juice and a squeeze of caramel add just enough sweetness to keep the medium-high bitterness from being overwhelming. It's so well done, but it still begs for a little something more to set it apart from other IPAs of good caliber.

Mouthfeel: Slightly creamy, yet still smooth. Light alcohol warming and medium-high carbonation continue the theme of balance by creating an atmosphere that's both refreshing and intoxicating.

Overall: This IPA is undeniably good, but it's perhaps so well-balanced, that it becomes a little boring when compared to the wide varieties of recipes on the market today. Still, it's a sure bet, and one I will therefore continue to buy.

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Photo of CarlosRuizsChauffeur
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer almost looks like an unfiltered Belgian white, except it is a little more translucent. Slight orange tinge with a small white head
S: Could not smell too much besides the decent dose of hops
T: Almost exactly how I want an IPA to taste. Not overly bitter, not overly hoppy, with the right amount of malts to keep it tasting like a normal IPA. Smooth and extremely drinkable, especially for a 7.5% abv. Nice biscuit-y flavor that is mellow but hoppy enough at the same time. One of the most perfect balances of malts and hops in any IPA I have had
M: Crisp, but not too much of a bite. Very smooth
O: One of my favorite IPA's and one of the most drinkable Indian Pale Ales there is. Everyone should try it at least once

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Photo of ZagZagg
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into snifter

A: Half finger white head sitting on a hazy, unfiltered looking brew. Fine sediment, light/fine carbonation, body appears medium – lacing is moderate and retention is good.

S: Sweet and resinous simultaneously, strong presence of grapefruit with undertones of pineapple and mango. Somewhat of an astringent aroma that is clean as well as mildly dry. Light agitation coaxes out a sterile lemon zest with notes of pine.

T: Clean taste, lemon and grape fruit provide a crisp astringency. Pine needle presents toward the middle mouth and dominates the resinous feel. The middle mouth packs a lot of citrus zest and is drier than I expected. Sweetness arises on the palate as the beer warms, letting on mild notes of mango, honey, and muddled mint leaf. Quite bitter, but well balanced, even a bit tart. The finish has hints of coriander and ginger; hop florals and freshly cut grass.

M: Medium to light body, fine carbonation, good balance between juicy and dry – aftertaste has a coriander soapiness and is again rather dry. Pretty decent drinkability

O: If I did a blind tasting of this, I would think it’s a solid IPA. That being said, I had heard some pretty high praise of this beer and I don’t know that I completely vibe with that. Good drinkability, good full flavor, but I was looking for a juicier palate. Overall, I like this beer, and I like it better warmer.

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Photo of Strat58cat
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Solid. The only word that I can think of to describe this classic IPA is solid. It's solidly in the middle of the IPA paradigm. The execution is solid. It's one of the most famous west coast IPAs for very good reason.

The look is very promising. This India pale ale pours a golden orange color, moderately hazy. The head is a delicious foamy eggshell color that foams up elaborately, retains, and laces. They've spared no expense on the malt, the head makes clear. All kinds of good stuff seems to be in store.

The aroma is a strong point of Racer 5. They've nailed it. It achieves the tropical grapefruit aroma that I'm looking for. I know tropical grapefruit is not a thing, but in the best IPAs they achieve it anyway. The aroma is perfectly modulated - neither overbearing nor weak. It stays righteous until the bottom of the glass, never fading or getting catty. Barely detectable, just behind the citrus scent of the hops, the malt conveys a pleasant biscuit aroma.

The taste of Racer 5 is solid. It's a mainstream west coast IPA flavor, initially strongly citrus from the hops but backed up proportionately with a subtle yet very appealing biscuit flavor. The description biscuit is overused in my experience, but this is truly it. I've never really enjoyed a biscuit-like malt except with Racer 5. As you might expect, since both are from the California wine country, Lagunitas and Racer 5 have a similar aesthetic, sharing their beautiful citrus hops bouquet and the effort to balance the hops with a significant malt. Racer 5 out runs their wine country competition in the Stone-like appealing dankness of their IPA and the flavorful biscuit malt that backs the hops up. Like Lagunitas, Racer 5 is a very easy drinking, pleasant and enjoyable IPA. The fabled bitterness of IPAs is no doubt present, but it's in sync with the expectations from the flavors and so is purely enjoyable.

The feel of Racer 5 is fine. It's not watery, but medium-bodied. It does not come across as thin-feeling like Rebel can, but doesn't quite have as much body as I seem to feel with Lagunitas.

Overall, Racer 5 is a fabled west coast IPA for good reason. It's extremely good. Like Stone, it costs a few dollars more for a 12-pack than some other appealing and widely available options, but it's worth it. Maybe it's not worth springing for one of the true paragons every trip, but every now and then . . .

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Photo of jkblr
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle bb 4/3/18 (almost impossible to read cold-etched in glass near the bottom of bottle) poured into a Spiegelau IPA glass at fridge temp 7.5% ABV. The beer pours just slightly hazy and golden in color. The head is off white and leaves abundant lacing on its way to a firm 1/4" cap. Aroma is fairly big with grapefruit and caramel mixed equally. The taste is semisweet caramel up front with citrus and pine playing in. The finish is crisp and drying with a nice bitter exclamation point. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, adequately carbonated and a little chalky(in a pleasant way). Overall, excellent. Really glad I had the opportunity to pick this up fresh and on the shelf. Perfect balance of hops and caramel malt. Recommended.

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Photo of Bruno74200
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

More on the bittering end of the spectrum than the flavourful one, not that I dislike it. Extremely piney. A bit of bitter orange. Drinkable even if it's flirting with dipa territory

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

Smell is mild and flavorful. At 7.5%, it's pretty strong, but you can't tell. Goes down smoothly. Very pleasant and mild. If I hadn't had Stone's Enjoy By DIPA last night, I probably would have rated this higher. A solid IPA. Now that I am in California, this will be my go-to 6 pack.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Slightly hazed tangerine-amber. Since the label says that the beer is bottle conditioned and that 'yeast is good', I imagine that my last few pours will cloud things up nicely. The head is the color of rich cream and is a little frothy, yet stiff. I anticipated a lot of lace and am not disappointed. The cap falls slowly and unevenly, leaving thick sheets and chunks of lace all over the glass. A superb look.

The nose is as wonderful as I'd hoped: big, juicy, citrusy hops running rampant. There's a second variety in there as well, something that gives a slightly more pungeant, earthy aroma. A quick check of the Bear Republic website tells me that Cascade and Columbus hops are in use. Cascade have the upper hand in the aroma; I hope the same is true on the palate.

I enjoy the flavor quite a bit, but the Columbus hops are too prominent. While they don't completely overshadow the citrusy goodness of the Cascade, they do change the flavor profile just enough to keep me from loving it. Anderson Valley's Hop Ottin' is all Columbus hops and I learned from drinking that beer that it's not a hop that thrills me. There's a fair amount of sweetish pale malt that's not intrusive, but it is noticeable. The finish is long and increasingly hoppy and the body/mouthfeel is full and buttery smooth.

Racer 5 is somewhere between an IPA and a DIPA in terms of flavor, body and ABV. While I do have some quibble about the choice of hops, the quality of this beer is not to be doubted. A little heavier with the Cascade and a little lighter with the Columbus and this would easily be one of my favorite IPAs. Now, if they would only bottle Racer X.

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Photo of HotDogBikeRide
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle without a date. Equally parts hazy and carbonated, a golden-tinted beer with some sudsy lacing and a thin, retained head. Smell is pretty average at best, basic malt and hop profile, not that pungent. But this was stored at room temperature so I could see how it may have fallen off. Taste is a little more complex with several different hops highlighting what is a very refreshing, semi-dry finish. A little bitter component at the end, standard of many good IPA's. This is simply a good beer. Nothing too mindblowing, but definitely like it and would drink it anytime. Cheers.

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Photo of Joe_Howard
3.97/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy gold color with a respectable white head. The aroma was mainly floral and piny with a tad bit citrus hops, but was pretty faint for a west coast styled IPA. The hop flavor was very reflective of the aroma, with a little malt sweetness on the back end. Overall it was a pretty tasty IPA and if it wasn't so pricy compared to other brews I would probably get it all the time.

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Photo of Jason
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz brown bomber with no freshness date.

Appearance: Mildly hazed golden orange, a most excellent froth with a web like trail of lace.

Smell: Clean and fresh citrusy hop aroma, hop oil and a pungent coarseness show the bucket loads of hops they used. Light estery alcohol, toasted malt lay meekly underneath the hops.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Nice hard slap of hop to begin with, the pungent bitterness lingers on and on. Lots of hop flavour and a soothing bottle conditioned smoothness that can’t be beat! The maltiness is muscular but laid back with a biscuity flavour throughout. Mild presence for what the alcohol should show though it does warm the body after a while.

Notes: This is one of those Hop-o-licious brews. Sock it to me baby … I love those hops and keep them coming. Paired this one up with a bowl of secret Mexican Surprise Casserole … delicious!

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Photo of redbaron2005
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Normally when I drink any sort of beer, including craft. I seem to get an undesirable after effect, or tired feeling. Bear Republic Racer 5 DOESN'T HAVE THAT WHAT SO EVER! Not to mention I don't feel inebriated at all! This is a #1 in my choice for go-to brews.

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Photo of sderenne
4.8/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Kegged 5/08/15 Tapped 5/23/15 Wow the aroma is amazing. Flavor is a buttery,citrusy , hoppy treat for your mouth. I had a 5 gallon keg of this last fall and it was good. This keg is exceptional. Bear republic is creating some amazing beers that may rival or beat their neighbors to the south Russian River.

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Photo of toronadotornado
3.86/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

MoMo's - San Francisco, CA - draft at Giants vs. Dodgers game

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Photo of bisonfort
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had at lobster place in SF and at black hawk grille in Danville

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

An excellent IPA from Bear Republic. This pours out a creamy orangey/peachy colour with a large white head of foam. The aromas are all fresh cut piney/citrusy hops with a nice malt backbone to boot. The taste is a hop explosion with some great bready malts on the finish. The mouthfeel is quite smooth and reminds me of real ale. Bottle conditioned magic, I tell ya. The drinkability is excellent as well. All hail the bear! Why is this stuff SO EASY to get anywhere in NYC, but impossible to get in PA, why....why....why....!?

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Photo of TheDeuce
3.71/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Racer 5 India Pale Ale....

Appearance-Brown pour, orange as well, nice head that settles perfectly.

Smell-smokey sweetness, oily hop aroma, heavy alcohol.

Taste/Mouthfeel-alcohol, slight burn, really hoppy, some juicyness,. Decent taste.

Drinkability-heavy alcohol but it tastes good and is fairly balanced.

Overall-This is a good IPA, I'm not sure it's as knock your socks off as many feel but I can't deny that it's a good beer.

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

Photo of largadeer
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Golden-amber, transparent with a long-lasting head.

Smell: Citric hops with a sweet, malty backbone - it's like a ripe grapefruit.

Taste: Slightly grainy and bready. Lots of hops, but they're by no means overpowering. They have a nice citrus quality, sharp but balanced, with a subdued but distinct sweetness in the background.

Mouthfeel: Pretty much perfect for the style. Medium-bodied, very crisp, fine bubbles, not at all harsh.

Drinkability: Highly drinkable, but not exactly sessionable due to the fairly high ABV.

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Photo of Jwale73
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle served in a standard pint glass at 47 degrees. 2.25.09 indicated on the bottle. Poured a translucent copper with a half inch bright white head consisting of a layer of tiny, compressed bubbles. Head eventually settles into a thin, fairly consistent cap. Delicate waves of lacing were revealed during the course of the tasting. Nose consists predominantly of grapefruit notes with some light, floral aromas. Taste follows nose, but a nice malt/hops balance comes out in the mouth - some sweetness up front, with a light kiss of hops bittering at the finish. Mouthfeel is between light- and medium-bodied and mildly effervescent. A tasty IPA with a well-hidden abv; however, somewhat lacking in the crispness I've come to associate with the style.

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

On tap at the Yard House in Long Beach, CA.

Appearance - Deep golden with a decent white head on top, fairly clear.

Aroma - Grapefuity citrus. Very nice

Taste - Definitely hop forward, more of the grapefruit from the aroma coming through. Malt is there, but not heavy or sweet.

Mouthfeel - medium body without being cloying. Dry finish.

Drinkability - Very drinkable. A very nice American IPA. One of my favorites.

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Photo of alleykatking
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this in a trade with Pecorasc. Thanks for everything once again Sam! Poured from 12oz bottle.

A- Pours a nice hazy almost burnt orange color. Good size 1 1/2 finger cloudy white head that stayed around for a short bit. Nice streaking lacing on the sides of the glass. Wonderful looking beer.

S- This IPA leans more toward bright citrus (grapefuit and orange) hop tones right off the bat. I really enjoyed the front end of this one. More earthy piney hops come crashing in the nose after the first citrus hops. Some light bready sweet malt backbones comes and goes during a sniff. This is quickly overtaken by hops almost right away though.

T- This is a nice tasting IPA. Something I haven't had in a while...just a nice tasting IPA. Citrus hops make the first apperance fast and strong...this is followed by a quick flash of piney resiny hops. The malt backbone comes through a little more in the middle to ending of this beer. It makes with a nice bready balance. The ending has some bitter hops to it...and they last!

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the beer. Nice hop resin left on the palate and on the teeth. Citrus and piney hops left on the palate and deep into the aftertaste. Crisp in most aspects during drinking. Very clean tasting.

D- This was was a very drinkable IPA. I was actually quite shocked as to how much I enjoyed this beer. The drinkability on this is good but not over the top. After about 3 of these I would like to move onto something else.

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Photo of HopHeadRyan
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of abrodsky
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Racer 5 from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 7914 ratings