Racer 5 India Pale Ale | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

2,313 Reviews
Racer 5 India Pale AleRacer 5 India Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Bear Republic Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by kbub6f on 03-27-2002

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Reviews: 2,313 | Ratings: 7,620
Photo of Sycodrummer
3.68/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had from the tap at Sunset in Allston, Ma. Presented to me in tulip glass the beer was a slightly dark golden/yellow color with one finger of frothy white head and little to no lcaing throughout the sample. No other outright signs of carbonation were to be seen.

The nose only has a suprisingly subtle hop bill to it. The aroma is more earthy and slightly floral. Hints of hoppy citrus come through but overall rather tame.

The taste features a hop profile that is bigger in the nose, but still rather subdued for the style. Some associated bitterness but far from a stinging hop bomb. A rather hearty malt balance lends to a slightly sweet taste in the finish with some slightly floral flavors. Overall the taste is well balanced, a characteristic not shown by most beers of the style. Rather mild in body and hop character as well.

Medium body and crisp to the finish.

This beer is certainly enjoyable and certainly very drinkable, but it pales in comparison to others of the style. The beer's balance is quite good. I would have like some more assertive hop character and bitterness with this one. A good beer on the whole, but not high among my favorites for the style

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Photo of phisig137
3.87/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light amber color, with a frothy 2 finger head that slowly falls leaving behind abundant lacing.

Aroma is filled with citrusy hops, and a slight hint of caramel sweetness.

Flavor is well balanced. Not outrageously bitter, but solid amounts of citrusy hop flavor, backed by a decent malt backbone. Very enjoyable, and easy to drink. Mouthfeel is smooth, and bubbly.

Very nice beer overall, although I notice a trend in Bear Republic beers.... they all seem to use the same two or three hops. Not a bad thing, just something I noticed.

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Photo of JayTheFinn
4.54/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I finally got off my butt and tried the much acclaimed Racer 5 from BRB Co.

A - Deep deep orange body with a minimal but lasting off white head. Nice lacing.
S - Wonderful array of scents like orange, strawberries, grapes, flowers. One of the best smelling beers I've ever had!
T - Strong hop bite. Citrusy, flowery flavor. Good balance of sweet and sour.
M - Fairly full.
D - Very drinkable for the marvelous flavors, though I'd probably stop at one due to the powerful hop kick.

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Photo of wedge
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours orange with some haze from the bottle-conditioning and strings of carbonation. Thin, sticky, creamy head on top is a permanent fixture and leaves thin sheets of lacing. Smells very appealing - freshly squeezed citrus hops, candied and rich. Juicy citrus hop flavor with sugary malts to balance. Oh yeah, this is very delicious. Drying rind with a floral sweetness in the end. Solid medium mouthfeel with fine carbonation and a smooth bitterness.

A fruity, juicy IPA...all out hops yet, this is far from one dimensional. Pure, fresh squeezed Cascade and Columbus hop juice. Top notch.

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Photo of warmstorage
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many, many people have reviewed Racer 5, and while I usually don't bother to review something that has been extensively reviewed. However, for this beer, I just had to, as it's a damn near perfect basic West Coast style IPA.

22 ounce bottle, ~$3.49 at BevMo, into a beer clean pint glass.

Pours bright medium orange, with a fairly dense white head. Visible carbonation with small tight rising bubbles.

Aroma is slightly spicy malty sweet hoppy: just what an IPA should be.

Taste is primarily spicy, pine, citrus hops, with a perfectly balanced sweet malt back, and finishes with a nice piney hoppy swing. Just what an IPA should be. Middle and finish has a tingly, fairly carbonated mouth.

Immensely drinkable, beautifully balanced, fresh and citrus hop beauty. Not a hop bomb, but rather a perfect delivery vehicle for great hops and sweet malt.

Great for everything from a lawnmower beer, to a session beer, to a nice dinner beer for spicy (or not) foods, to a sit-and-watch-a-movie dessert beer.

I generally don't give 5s unless a beer just blows my mind, and Racer 5 is *just barely* below the border for this. But it's damn near perfect, and awfully close to 5s in every category.

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Photo of SethB2
4.63/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It's about time I reviewed this wonderful beer.

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a pint glass.

A - Hazy golden oranged with a massive head that climbs the glass. When the head finally goes away (after a long, long time), a butt load of lacing is left in its wake. Perfection.

S - Hops, citris and pine mostly, covering a toasted malted quality.

T - One of the most balanced IPAs on the planet. Starts with a bitter punch to the tongue, but very delicately begins to balance out. Usually balance means that the beer gets sweeter, and this one does too, but not nearly as much as one might expect.

M - Good stuff. Medium and a tad oily, but still finishes a little dry. How the hell is that possible. I don't know either.

D - Great.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.58/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours a cloudy orange color. The head is large, thick and somewhat creamy. The lacing is thorough and thick. The aroma is pleasing and rather complex with citrus and pine both being prominent. The taste leans a lot more toward pine than citrus. The mouthfeel is exceptional for an IPA. It is medium bodied and very creamy while still being very lively carbonated. Overall, this is a great IPA, one I wish was available in Minnesota.

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Photo of ReDave
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An orangeish amber color, with a creamy head with hints of brown in it. this head won't quit, all the way down. Bear Republic sure has it's head retention down! Great Hoppy IPA. Not the hoppiest, but a great solid IPA. Nice malty balance. Another very drinkable offering from Bear Republic!

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Photo of BradBLR
4.46/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Another great beer from Bear Republic. Beer poured a deep amber gold color, with a THICK yellow head. The head on this beer was amazing, lasted the whole beer and when I was done the was a chunk of foam in the bottom of my glass. Like a little prize at the end of the beer. The smell was a nicely balanced hop, malt smell that was not too strong.

The taste was a strong hoppy flavor with a medium malt flavor. The mouthfeel was great, it was like hop oil coated your tongue after each drink. Carbonization was good and the beer was nice and thick.

All I can say is try this beer. Bear Republic bottles like NO ONE else and it is a pleasure to drink any of their beers.

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Photo of tastybeer
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tangerine color with fine suspended haze and a very nice of white head. Lace is nice and sheety above excellent retention...a good quarter inch. Wow...I've had this before a long time ago but I don't remember it being so hoppy and sweet...and quite as awesome. Aroma is really balanced and beautifully hoppy. Sweet malts and citrusy cascade hops everywhere. Has an additional candy orange feel to it. Very pleasant hops, and a nice bitter dryness especially through the finish. Mouthfeel has a smooth effervescent quality. Drinkability is fantastic.

This is now up there with my favorite IPAs. Great balance with a lot to offer.

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Photo of objectivemonkey
4.28/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Into a pint glass, pours somewhere between clear and translucent copper, with massive head and fluffy lacing. Has a really herbal earthy hop nose, a little remincent of a barley wine if you ask me, with pine and citrus and grapefruit, not too agressive, just right and quite nice. Taste is the same way, really earthy pine hop, a solid biscut malt base, with that same barley wine kind of hint in the aroma, perhaps from yeast?, with a slight bittering at the end. Either way, Really smooth and delicious mouth. Overall, just a really good beer.

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Photo of veggiemafia
3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber split between me and someone else, served in tumbler pints.

First off, this was obviously not the freshest example of this beer as there were HUGE floaties. Seriously, size of my pinky nail. This is not the fault of the beer, but without a DATE of any sort, how was I to know when I picked this up at Bierkraft? Kind of disappointed, really, because I've not seen this in PA before, and people seem to just love it. So who knows if I'll get another chance on this one.

Appearance is good, but for the enormous floaties. Good head, good retention, good color.

Smell is very nice. Piney and resinous, but with good grassy and floral notes in there, too. No real off-flavors, to my surprise.

Taste is similar, but bigger on the piney hop, less on the grassy/floral notes. Good malt balance. A little big on the pine for my taste, but that's a personal issue.

Mouthfeel is good, medium body, medium carbonation.

Drinkability is OK. Don't know how I would've felt after a whole bomber of this.

Disappointing experience, though. DATES ON THE BOTTLES, PEOPLE! PLEASE! There's no excuse not to.

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Photo of JMD71
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance:Light orangey color with carbonation clinging to sides of the glass. Small bubbly head when poured. Looks very fizzy. Slightly cloudy...

Aroma: Malty caramel aroma with overtones of floral hops. Slightly citrusy & reminiscent of pine needles. Fruity. Not overly bitter smelling. Well balanced in the nose.

Taste: Sweet caramel beginning & middle balances with bittering hops in the finish. Perfectly balanced. Savory, full flavored IPA.

Mouthfeel: Chewy, medium bodied texture. Wonderful crispness & clean throughout. Not cloying at all. Leaves a fresh feeling...

Drinkability: Easy drinking! Very smooth with every sip. Goes down with effortlessly. I could enjoy a few in a row.

Comments: This was a very well balanced IPA. Great malty sweetness & hop finish not overbearing. Excellent!

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Photo of hoffman
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Crystal clear pour aside from a distant haze. Perfect pour yields a nice off white head rising and falling to a nice cap on the brew. The color is a light amber/honey with some reds...very nice. The smell is very pronounced, citrus outwieghs the piney hop notes with a background of toasty malts and an almost varnishy, sweet cedar smell, if that makes any sense I do find it quite nice. The hops and toasted malts come together to form the cedar aroma. The taste is pure and clean smooth toasty malts in the beginning, citrus in the middle and both mixed with a subdued hop finish. Nice and well rounded. Somewhat unimpressive compared to the Hop Rod Rye from this brewer. But still a darn fine entry. The mouthfeel is quite nice if not a bit watery, overall it is quite good. Immensly drinkable and easily quaffable. The quasi-high levels of alcohol are masked very well and do not effect the taste but do sneak into the aroma. Try this one if you can.

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Photo of Vancer
4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A chill hazed amber brew with a frothy ivory head greeted me upon pouring. Sticky laces – good. Aromas of citrus and grapefruit on top of a general hoppy buzz.

An easy hopped, tame and smooth drinking IPA – just a great brew that’s now over the top. ‘Course, the 7% can sneak up on you, so a bomber or two may just be right for an easy afternoon of quaffing. Well carbonated, just a tad thin.

I likey this one, doesn’t have the floral taste that I really don’t care for in PAs/IPAs.

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Photo of WanderingFool
3.87/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Racer 5 pours a slightly hazy straw color with a thin white head on top. The foam dissolves quickly leaving only a few spots of lace behind. A hoppy aroma full of pine floats over the beer.

Each sip of this thin to medium bodied beer is somewhat chewy with a light tingle on the tip of the tongue. The flavor is very hoppy with notes of pine and hints of pepper. A biscuity malt flavor in the background helps to balance out all the hops. Some piney bitterness and a hint of malt remain when the beer is gone.

This is a very tasty beer, but not for those who don't like hops.

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Photo of audiojon
2.62/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

This is my second time trying Racer 5, the first being on tap. I remember it tasting better than this, maybe this is one that is better kegged? Smell is tasty enough, very piney, but the taste is off a bit to me. It seems like the alpha acid levels are out of wack with the rest of the beer. The mouthfeel is not right either, not enough carbonation (which could explain the mysterious lack of head too). Overall, I am very disappointed with this, but may give it another try on tap.

editing this review down as I could not even finish the bottle.

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Photo of instrumentality
4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Racer 5 IPA poured a light amber-orange color with a nice, one inch fluffy white head that settled to around 1/4 inch while still retaining its fluffiness.

The scent was primarily the typical piney hoppy aroma with a fruitiness somewhere between a pear, a peach, and a pineapple.

The first sip was surprisingly clean, smooth, and flavorful. The piney hops were strong and bitter, but this was undercut by a mild fruit enhancement very similar to the pear-like flavor I recall from the Avery Maharaja IPA, although maybe slightly less tart.

It's not too harsh on the palate, and the bitter aftertaste isn't too intense, which definitely earns it some points over some other IPA's I've tried. I like the bitter, hoppy flavor, but I don't like having it coat my tongue and ruin my taste buds for all other flavors.

As with the Maharaja, I like this added complexity of the pearlike flavor, and as far as fruits go, this could be the best compliment to an IPA, but there's something not quite right about it, like the fruit is ever so slightly overripe. If the fruit aspect tasted just a little bit fresher, I think I'd be sold on the concept, but I think that's just the nature of this style, not the age of the beer.

Of my reviewed IPAs thus far, Stone IPA is still my favorite, and this one ties with the Maharaja (although the numbers may not match) as it's nearly identical as far as I can recall. Some day I'll have to drink the latter two head to head and see if I can better identify the distinction.

Definitely worth the price of admission, all things considered.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a slighty cloudy golden yellow color, nice carbonation, huge foamy head, nice lacing throughout the drink.

S - Scents of hops aplenty, sweet malts, yeast, and citrus.

T - The taste is sweet and bitter. Very nice bite at the finish. The finish is also dry.

M - Medium body. Very nice balanced and slightly carbonated feel.

D - Very drinkable. This is my first BR brew. I've heard great things about Racer 5 and now I know why. This IPA is very tasty, one of the best I've ever had. I'm glad I bought 2 bombers.

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Photo of TheBungyo
4.65/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A winner of an IPA. This was one of the first IPA's my palate decided it liked. Drinking it now, I'm surprised I liked something this bitter and piney. The pour results in a orange body teeming with head. In fact, the head is a tad too robust for me. I like head on my beers, but on an IPA I want an inch or so, not 3 inches. The lacing is masterful, better than anything else I've witnessed recently. If it wasn't for the gushing head, the appearance would rate a 5. Nose is nice and balanced ... lots of caramel malt, and lots of grapefruit and pine. Almost exactly what I want out of an IPA. Taste starts piney, edges into grapefruit, and orange and finishes lemon and caramel. Mouth is massive, carbonation runs rampant, but in an orchestrated fashion, blitzing over the mouth in a mission to please. Mission accomplished.
Certainly a sessionable IPA. I'd be more than glad to do so if I found it in sixers or on tap.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.04/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I tried this beer at the Yardhouse in Long Beach, served in a pint glass. The appearance was pale orange with no head (maybe due to the bartender's technique).

The smell is overwhelmingly hops, and the flavor is mostly hops but with some malt balancing it slightly. Almost no bitterness in the after-taste, so it was really easy to drink. A very good IPA.

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Photo of asabreed
4.48/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into a pint glass.

Appearance: Huge head that keeps building and turning into almost what a Belgian would look like; the carbonation keeps pushing it up, and it's clumping around the middle and bubbling around the edges. Huge amount of bubbles too, as I said. The color is a light golden yellow. Lacing continues to clump and look like a Belgian and the head is indomitable.

Smell: Huge floral and perfume from the hops. Not much citrus or pine, but tons of welcoming sweetness. The sweet malt characteristics are also balanced well. Aromatic and effervescent stuff.

Taste: Awesome balance between the malt and hops. The sweetness from both comes through very well. I get some fruit from the malt and the perfume from the hops. Very nice.

Mouthfeel: Slightly astringent, but the carbonation has settled down from the initial pour. For how sweet it is as an IPA, though, which I'm not used to really, it never becomes cloying.

Drinkability: It seems to be easy enough to make an IPA, but likewise it seems hard to make one that's singular in nature. This brew, however, is pretty awesome for the style. As I said, it's sweeter than most I've had, but for the balance it ends up working well. Still, if you're a hophead as far as the bitterness goes, you may not dig this as much.

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Photo of tempest
4.31/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap at the Blue Tusk.

Poured into a weizen glass, this beer looks awesome. As I drink it down, its possibly the best look IPA I ever seen, let alone beer I've seen in the past few months. A hazy orange with white head and lacing all the way down the long weizen glass.

Smell and taste, however, are less amazing. Smells and tastes of west coast hops, very cascade like. Piney, citrus, grapefruit together at once. It was a good and balanced flavor, but lacks the complexity that would make this a great beer. Not overly bitter for the sake of being bitter like some IPAs, it earns it bitterness and flavor.

Very good mouthfeel and drinkability. I had no idea this was 7%, felt like any other good IPA. If I had this all night, I might end up on the floor.

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Photo of kdmorse
4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brought this back from a mid-March trip to sunny CA. I'm glad that I did, and I'm glad that I will be moving out there soon.

A: Hazy goldenrod body topped with 3+ fingers of rocky, white head. One of the most exciting IPAs to watch. Bubbles zip to the top and the head sticks around forever. As I drink it down, huge waves of lacing cling to the glass. If it doesn't get rinsed immediately, it will take a sandblaster to wash the lacing out of this glass.

S: Muted but fresh hops. Mostly sweet citrus with touches of pine. Sweet malt underneath that provides a background to the hops.

T: Probably the most balanced IPA I have ever had the pleasure of tasting. Seems to be working backwards. Fresh, tasty, bitter hops up front finishing with sweet malt. Bitter (piney) hops in the aftertaste.

M: Carbonation is great. Light feeling, but enough body to give something to taste.

D: Tasty and fun to drink. I'm drinking it a bit too fast because it is so enjoyable.

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Photo of VoodooBrew
4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber. Bottling date unknown. It's quite possible that this beer had been at the store since last fall, since I purchased a few others that did have that kind of age on them. But hey, I can't get this where I live so I was willing to risk picking up a past-its-prime beer.

Mostly clear orange-copper with creamy white head. The nose offers clean, fresh citrus, albeit on the light side. Sweet hops jump to the front of the palate, offering juicy, crisp citric flavors. This leads right into a firm and focused bitterness that rides right into a bitter/slightly tart finish. The alcohol begins to stir in the gut, and that sense of well-being begins to set in. Aahhh... Racer 5 is a clean, enjoyable brew with all the credentials of a great West Coast IPA.

As I said, this beer might be on the old side. Not that it's gone bad mind you -- at 7% ABV it has a decent shelf life, but it seems to me that, as good as this beer is, it's likely even better and hop-licious when fresh.

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Racer 5 India Pale Ale from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
4.19 out of 5 based on 7,620 ratings.
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