Racer 5 India Pale Ale | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

2,304 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: 2,304 | Ratings: 7,581
Photo of idResponse
3.56/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden color with a frothy head and lovely lacing that seems to be sticking around quite well so far. Scents of citrus and alcohol, standard IPA smell coming off of this. The First Swig reveals a really smooth balanced standard IPA taste. Very nice mouthfeel and drinkability seems to be right up there with many of my favorite IPA's. I think this is a solid brew, but I am not convinced it is anything to really go crazy over. If you see it on the shelf and haven't tried it, give it a go. It won't disappoint, but won't make your jaw drop. A Solid IPA, Bear Republic!

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Photo of Hellabeerguzzler
3.57/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

a - decent. Nice copper, slightly cloudy (hello!) w/ not much carbonation although enough for me. The shittiest label I have ever seen. It looks like a poor take on a retro label that just was anything but enticing - but heck, it's just a label. Wouldn't have touched it had it not been recommended to try.

s - a little piney, hops not very sharp at all but sweet smell with some breadiness in there. A little wheaty for me as an IPA but regardless, still very nice.

t - delicious. very well done. hop-forward, piney sweet hops with some balance and malt. All in all a very nice beer.

m - coats the mouth heavily and stays with you for a bit.

d - drinkability is very good. I'd drink it again but have to deduct just a little bit for the mouth-wrecking it gave me. I'd drink it again but would stop at 1.

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Photo of retry4z
3.57/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served cool from a bomber bottle into a Delirium snifter glass.

Very hazy, light orange color with a tenacious tan head.

Smell is a little musty, hints of malt, hops, citrus, and slight pine.

Initial bitterness is followed by a pine sweetness, some citrus notes, some warming alcohol.

Medium to full bodied, light carbonation, buttery consistency, some astringency.

Overall, the musty smell threw me off, while the hops don't provide the complex flavor I came to love in such IPA's as Lagunitas or Alesmith.

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Photo of Proteus93
3.58/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: A light gold / somewhat murky straw colour... a good, bubbly, insanely sticky head. Quite nice.

S: Somewhat sharp grapefruit/pine blend in the aroma, along with some citrus peel. Crisp and clean.

T: Pretty aggressive... huge, full hops explosion. Maybe a little overwhelming, and a bit unbalanced to my palate. Lots of the grapefruit taste, almost like it came complete with the peel. A bit of the taste that I have only been able to compare to 'eating a joint.'

M: A pretty full body, maybe a little sticky/tacky towards the finish.

D: This is perhaps a case where it's 'bigger is not necessarily better' for me. It could be a case of needing to be in the mood for the hops assault, but this is one I think I may hesitate on in the future. I really enjoyed their stout, though, so it hasn't thrown me off the brewery.

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Photo of barleypop
3.58/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I partook of this on tap at Bear Republic. Its appearance was that of clover honey with not much of a head to speak of.

The nose I can only describe as that of a sticky marijuana plant. Not that I know what one smells like. I’ve been to the Haight one too many times.

The hop flavors come through strongly. I think there is a hop stuck in my teeth! There are some biscuity malt flavors somewhere in the background struggling to make themselves heard. An exceedingly dry finish.

Overall, a bit too hoppy for my liking. Could use a bit more balance. It literally tastes like hops steeped in boiling water. Introducing the worlds first IPA Iced Tea!

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Photo of MLegendre
3.58/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: BIG, BIG white fluffy head. Disapates very, very slowly leaving lots of lacing. Golden orange in color with millians of little bubbles racing to the top. Head never goes away and stays until the last drop.

S: Hops hit the nose like a ton of bricks followed by some very zesty citrus scents. Enough malt in the smell to balance everything out.

T: Very different than any IPA I've ever had before. This threw me off guard. Taste is like a mixture of hops and sweet peanut sauce. Bitterness of the hops is very strong but not overpowering. The nutty malt is right along side it for the duration of the drink. Finish is very bitter like grapefruit, aftertaste is bitter, yet sweet as well. After awhile the peanut taste started to become overwhelming. This is unlike anything I've ever had before. This would go great with Thai food.

M: Medium bodied, fair carbonation, pretty smooth.

D: A very interesting IPA. This is definatly something I would get again when in the mood for something as odd as this. As good as it is, not something I could drink a whole lot of. It was a little hard for me to finish the whole thing. I'm a huge fan of Thai food so I'm pretty stoked to find something that would go well with it, though I probably wouldn't get this under any other circumstances.

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Photo of gillagorilla
3.59/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: A very light golden hue with a light film and nice lacing.

S: Very light floral and citrus notes that were very hard to discern.

T: The hops finally come through and are apparent here. It has a very even keel of a hop profile throughout. A good blend of pine and citrus.

M: Very smooth with light bubbles. It was easy going down but got harsher as it warmed.

O: Not a bad IPA, but I would like to try it in a bottle. It came across as a very light IPA. The smell was almost non-existent, but it may have been a bad pour or something from the tap.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.59/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: poured four times into my toothbrush holder plastic tumbler (hotel room in San Fran) on 4 Feb 2013.

Pale amber body with an off-white head.

Hoppy, bitter and dry tasting: I'd had it in a sink full of ice while we went out and I thought it got better as it warmed, when cold it had little to no bite from its hoppiness, once a bit warmer the hops really asserted themselves and they came alive.

I'm not a huge 'hop monster' but I thought this was very drinkable in deed.

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Photo of DriverB
3.59/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Living in SF and Marin County, I have been drinking Racer 5 for years. Prior to 2010 it was my favorite go to IPA. While it is still decent, it changed dramatically at that time and was never the same. There are a variety of hops listed but overall taste is fairly uniform and one dimensional. Upfront bite but aromas not overly complex or intriguing. It used to be more on a level like sculpin. I now view it slightly above Lagunitas as a highly accessible reasonably priced local beer. My guess is they changed things as they ramped production. Still like it and get it from time to time but view more as a baseline IPA than something special.

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Photo of lechroy
3.59/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22-oz bottle. Served in glass.

A: Hmm, looks like a primary fermenter on day 5. More particulate action than I wanted. Hazy orange hue - 1.5 finger head - lacy
S: Really pleasant delicate hop bite - piney for sure. Nicely balanced with malt touches.
T: I have always really dug this beer. Its quite tasty, but as I tuned in, I was surprised at how poorly the alcohol is masked. Quite a bit. I wouldn't notice it after 2 beers @ 7%.
M: Ok.
O: Yummy, very drinkable beer that is light but potent. Pretty yummy hop blend overall.

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Photo of far333
3.6/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark orangey apricot color with a beige thick, oily looking head that clings to the sides of the glass. Aroma is of hops, honey, pear, and alcohol in equal amounts. Flavor is not very hoppy, but has hints of orange peel and honey and some floral notes. There is a distinct alcohol flourish in the back of the tongue in the finish, and it also lingers afterward. Mouthfeel is a little watery, a bit low on carbonation. Tasty beer, but needs more balance. The flavor is overpowered by the alcohol.

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Photo of Backer2004
3.6/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Found this for $1.99 a single. Nice all around, but nothing to special. Grapefruit notes, some alcohol warmth, but easy enough to consume. Less malt balance than some other seven percent IPAs. However, nothing blew me away but would try more from Bear Republic.

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Photo of TLove
3.6/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber into a Chimay glass.

Appearance: Dark orange with a nice frothy white head, with a nice trail of lace. Retains light lace on the top of the beer.

Smell: Smells like unspiced, spiked apple cider. Crisp, citrus, a tad oily and strong alcohol.

Taste: Strong hops, very smooth, light bitters and a pungent body with hints of apple, orange, and barley residue.

Mouthfeel: Good in the mouth, but descends to overly hoppy and a bit strong alcohol-wise on the back end.

Drinkability: Strong finish, but inherently and unabashedly smooth.

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Photo of claspada
3.6/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bright golden color with a medium size white soapy head that leaves ample lacing.

Aromas begin with a ton of grapefruit and lemony hops, some pine, with a lightly sweet crackery pale malt backbone.

The tastes follow the nose with huge grapefruit and floral hop flavors assaulting the palate leaving a great deal of lingering bitterness. Not much malt backbone even as it warms as the aromas slightly suggested.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation. The finish is pretty dark bitter and becomes a challenge to enjoy more and more as it warms.

Overall this is just not a very drinkable/enjoyable beer as I find with most West Coast single IPAs. The flavors are all hops and no malt with little balance; great for some, not for me.

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Photo of bambam2517
3.6/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass after dinner, served at 45F.

A - Flat golden-blonde pour leaves almost nothing up top, looks lethargic and watery honestly. Lots of snowy unfiltered goodness though.

S - Mostly floral, some caramel sugar, a little hop pineyness.

T -Sweet honey citrus backed up by some hop bitterness.

M - Not at all unpleasant but pretty unremarkable. It just one of those.

O - Dialed back in every respect from my experiences in IPAs, I think that is exactly against the grain of West Coast IPAs in general. Not a fan. Heres one for people who say "I love IPAS, just dont like the hoppy tasting ones". What?

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Photo of carpezytha
3.6/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Honey colored with large-bubbled head which leaves a bit of lacing after sinking to a thin coating.
S: Grass, pine, tarweed.
T: Crisp with good body and decent malt.
M: Lively, smooth.
D: Great daily drinker for 4.50 a 22oz bottle.

I am not a huge IPA fan, but this one does the trick especially at this price.

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Photo of Beginner2
3.6/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Better upfront to confess my bias: I don't like ale loaded with hops as an escape from the work of learning how they interplay with malts.
So, Racer 5 gets a brief review.
First, I had it in their brewpub in Healdsburg several years ago and that experience was good.
Second, this was on one of my lists.

I now note when a beer is listed in one of my three books comprising my classical beer education.
"1001 Beers To Taste Before You Die", page 471.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.61/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a bomber into a pint glass, the beer pours a hazy golden orange with a thin head. Settles to a surface cap in a couple minutes, then a surface ring, and offers light lacing throughout the pint.

Citrus and pine notes on the nose with some malt lingering in the shadows. A bit too clean however with notable dead spots. Rather rich and malty on the tongue, particularly given the color of the pour. Reduces to a rather simple IPA, and somewhat sweet as the carbonation diminishes too fast.

Have had this on tap a number of times. Anywhere from blah to beautiful, this brew is too unpredictable to buy again. It's all over the place and too dependent on carbonation for success. I'll stick to more reliable options in the future, and this 'bottle conditioned' serving seems no different. Buttery, sweet and unpredictable in the hops/carbonation/feel.

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Photo of Kisejohn
3.61/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Aroma:  Subdued grapefruit aroma with a hint of malt.  Was hoping for more.

Appearance:  Honey gold color with a half finger of head.  Head dissipates quickly leaving nice lacing.

Flavor:  Grapefruit rind and some caramel malt predominate.  Lingering bitterness in the finish.  Was hoping for more hop flavor.  Hop flavor is limited in comparison to other west coast IPAs.  

Mouthfeel:   Light body with good carbonation.

Overall:  This is a very good IPA for any hop head.  The hop aroma and flavor are fairly subdued in comparison to leading west coast IPAs.  Enjoyable IPA, but not my favorite.

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Photo of jsanford
3.61/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the Lodge in Hilton Head on 5/12/10

A - Golden in color, perfect clarity. Small head with nice lacing

S - Didn't get a very strong nose from my pouring. Small amounts of grapefruit, pineapple, apricot. Typical of an IPA.

T - Almost a "wheaty" sweetness to it, nice grapefruit finish

M - Light-bodied, went down pretty easy

D - Overall a pretty solid IPA, if a bit "entry level". I will say I had a fresh Maharaja prior to this brew so perhaps my tastebuds were blown. May have to re-visit later.

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Photo of GreenCard
3.61/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: low to no head, amber, good clarity

Aroma: passion fruit and pine needles, caramel, devil's food cake, hint of roast and an even smaller hint of diacetyl

Flavor: up-front lime peel bitterness concedes to a mellow caramelly malt flavor, green and grassy hop flavor, nicely layered hop profile, finishes pretty dry with a long-lingering limey bitterness in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: medium-full body, gentle carbonation, smooth, some warmth

Overall Impression: Quite balanced. Better than I thought it would be (wasn't impressed with Hop Rod Rye... the only other Bear Republic beer I've tried). This is an IPA's IPA. Very recommendable!

22 oz. bomber delivered by LBB and tasted by myself and BelgianBeers.

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Photo of wofat
3.62/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This IPA pours golden with a slight amber tone with a constant, champagne-like strands of carbonation from the bottom of your glass, culminating in a large, frothy head that sticks around longer than expected.

The aroma is a full on assault of fruit-like hops. I was hoping that the flavor would somehow meet up with my expectations after smelling this beer, but it starts with a moderate carmel maltiness transitioning to a too mild hop flavor and overdone bitterness. I personally would have liked a bit more hop flavor in this IPA, rather than just the lingering bitterness that this brew provides. The bitterness of the aftertaste in this beer is a bit overwhelming to the mild sweetness of the malt.

This is a tasty IPA, but fell below my expectations. Drinkability suffers due to the lack of real hop flavor and hearty, lingering bitterness.

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Photo of smanders
3.63/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Golden with a white head. Spiderweb lacing all the way down the glass.

Smell: Unlike any IPA I've ever inhaled. What is that smell?

Taste: Lemon! That's it! Spice, grapefruit, and lemon. Very unusual but not in a bad way.

Mouthfeel: Pretty creamy for an IPA. Not as biting/oily.

Drinkability: Not as aggressively hopped as IPAs I'm accustomed to, but not a bad example of the style. Unique. I will enjoy this brand again.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.63/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle has a code of 06 03 09

This pours a hazy bright orange colour with a 1 finger head of foam. There's some nice lacing to go with this very good looking brew.

The smell is very hoppy with big notes of citrus and lesser of pine. It's not without some malt as I get a bit of caramel sneaking in as well as an earthiness.

The taste has a good grapefruit bitterness with some earthy tones which I'm not all that fond of, a light touch of pine, but not much of any sweet malt. This is pretty bitter....I don't remember it being this bitter from the times I had in the past, which must be a few years now. Oh well. It's still pretty good with the flavour.

Fairly light bodied, it has medium carbonation and finishes decidedly bitter with a long lasting aftertaste.

Drinkability? For me, it drinks stronger than the 7%abv it carries and the flavours don't tickle my fancy that much so....it will probably be a while before I revisit this brew.

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Photo of snpub540
3.63/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a very light copper hue that was clear with a slight haze. Nice carbonation. There was a fluffy off-white head that left some very clingy lacing down the whole glass.

Aromas were all hop related citrus and grapefruit being the most evident. Also some floral hops in the nose.

Taste was mostly hops. Citrus is the dominant flavor with a piney after taste. A bready malt backbone adds a nice balance to this brew.

Mouthfeel was medium-bodied. Drinkability is great as this beer has a very clean flavor and it is not harsh at all. The alcohol is not present at all.

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Racer 5 India Pale Ale from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
4.19 out of 5 based on 7,581 ratings.
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