Racer 5 India Pale Ale | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

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2,290 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: 2,290 | Ratings: 7,507
Photo of jlindros
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this beer before, and its a great IPA, but never reviewed it. I felt like a nice big IPA which I haven't had in a while, so here it is.

A: Pouring into my oversized DFH snifter leaves a nice 1 finger head spread out with lots of big bubbles mid head, making it look like a battleground. It's pretty hazy with a golden pale beautiful IPA color.

N: Mmm, beautiful hop aromas billow out through the tapered top. Its full of citrus, juicy fruit hop aromas, and some pine. A very slight touch of malt and alcohol bite. Great nose, but I like a little more pine and grapefruit on a great IPA, but this is its own beast.

T: Surprisingly it starts with a fresh malt wort taste. That doesn't last long as a slew of hops and bitterness hit. More fresh citrus and juicy fruits, and some earthy grassy hop flavors. Even some piney hops build up and start to gain some ground. A slight tangy hop bitterness also strikes. A very slight malt sweetness and alcohol presence lets itself be known, but its dwarfed compared to the hop presence. A little bit of hop oils come out as well.

M: It has some body and slight oily feel, decent carbonation, and touch of spicy hop presence.

F: Finshes pretty bitter and semi dry. Its not super overpowering on the bitterness, but its presence is very obvious. Some floral hop flavors linger for a bit, and the bitterness slowly rises as the taste fades. A little more bitter earthiness finishes off the finish.

Final thoughts: A nice semi heavy IPA. It's not an imperial or double or anything like that, just a nice hoppy IPA. A slight malt and alcohol presence, and seems like a few different blended hops, but not much on the grapefruit end, so this is a completely different beast than most. But overall a good consistent IPA.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a Stone IPA flute.

Pours a hazy gold with a finger of creamy brite-white head that retains nicely across the surface and leaves some good lacing behind. The aroma is quite hoppy with fresh grapefruit notes, piney esters, light malt, and a touch of alcohol behind it.

The taste is a assertive piney hop bitterness mixed with a splash of grapefruit citrus that only seems to become more pronounced as it warms. This is nicely balanced by a backbone of sweet bready malt that helps temper all the bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with an oily texture and easy feel to it.

A very solid West Coast IPA. It has a very pronounced hoppiness to it but the citrus element and malt really help keep things in check and make this one hugely sessionable affair.

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

22 ounce bottle into pint glass, bottled recently as my local store got a fresh case a couple weeks ago. Pours slightly hazy and cloudy golden amber color with a nice 2 finger dense off white head with fantastic retention that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Some decent lacing on the glass. Aromas of big pine, grapefruit, herbal, lemon, caramel, and toasted bread. Very nice and well balanced aromas. Taste of big grapefruit, lemon zest, herbal, pine, light caramel, honey, spiciness, and toasted biscuit. Good amount of bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of pine, herbal, citrus, and honey on the finish for a bit. Great balance of sweetness and bitterness. Medium carbonation and body; with a slightly creamy mouthfeel. Very smooth to drink at 7%, with only a slight alcohol warming after the finish. Overall this is a very excellent IPA offering. Great balance, hop flavor, and smooth drinking. At 6 bucks a bomber I really have no complaints.

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

A well-stored bottle pours a surprisingly crystal-clear deep amber body (I can see my fingerprints through the glass on the first pour - the second becomes more hazy). The aroma of fresh piney/citric hops greets you immediately. The full and creamy vanilla head needs a few moments to settle just so you can fill the glass; and once calmed holds fairly well. It drops but keeps a solid 1/4" of foam across the surface and leaves excellent layers of lace until the very end. The nose expresses piney/citrusy hops over a gently caramelish malt. It's very nice, and not overdone as some IPAs can be! A moderate carbonation combines with a firmly malty body to leave it creamy and smooth in the mouth. The flavor re-itereates what the nose indicated with a rich, caramel-soaked malt that's infused with piney/citrusy hops. A firm bitterness balances this big beer without going over the line; and leaves it quite drinkable (still, it is a bit filling). Really well-balanced! It finishes dry with a swiftly disintegrating maltiness followed by a flash of bitterness and then some residual piney hop flavor. An exceptional beer that's well worth seeking out.

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Photo of mactrail
3.4/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bold hops in a medium bodied ale. The big spiciness is the best features. Flavors flatten out more than you might hope for. Some bitter marmelade flavors, more grapefruit than pine. Bitterness is under control. Golden amber in the glass with a head that dissipates before too long. Not overly carbonated in the mouth.

From a 12 oz bottle. Seems like a pretty average IPA after half a glass. The hot spiciness mixed with the hoppy bitterness gives a long, intense aftertaste.

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Photo of chinchill
4.22/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Undated bottle served in a Highland Brewing pint glass.

A - clear (top of bottle) becoming hazy (bottom of bottle) golden with creamy white head that, as is typical for IPAs, has limited retention.

S - strong aroma of hops; fresh, piney/sprucy, floral and nicely complex. There's probably some roasted malt lurkering in the aroma too, but the hops just jump out.

T - Frankly, the strong piney hop aroma, while very pleasant, is a bit forbidding as it suggests an intensely bitter and piney taste. Such is not the case. This is a refreshing, easy-to-drink IPA that has modestly strong hop flavor together with a quite strong aroma. Moderately bitter grapefruit/pine finish and aftertaste.
Very nice!

M - good body and carbonation

O - an outstanding Amer. IPA, particularly suitable for those who prefer a strong aromatic contribution from hops more than a strong flavor or pronounced bitterness. Quite different than, but overall about on par with, the local Sweetwater IPA I had (for about the 20th time) earlier this week.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.53/5  rDev +8.1%
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 ChainGangGuy
3.92/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After a moving company completely destroyed 40% of my meager belongings this afternoon, I dare say I could use a beer!

Appearance: Pours a light amber-copper color with a massive khaki-colored head and abundant lacing.

Smell: Rich, intensified floral-citrus aroma with a veritable basket of juicy fruits (grapefruit, oranges, pineapple). Lighter traces of pine and honey.

Taste: Honey and toffee sweetness progresses into a fruity, citrusy combination of apricots and oranges (and to a lesser extent, grapefruits). Again, there's pine and even some breadiness and mint roaming around the taste. However, the grapefruit and pine flavors really come to live and amplify on the assetively bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body that is at times chewy and oily.

Drinkability: In all honesty, this reminds me of Avery's Maharaja with the Racer 5 being just a bit more drinkable.

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

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a light amber color with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is kind of faint, but is mostly of caramelized malt & citrus with a light background of hops.

T: The taste is excellently balanced with flavors of floral hops, citrus sweetness and caramel. The hops bitterness isn’t as strong as most IPA’s but it good enough without overpowering you. The malt character is on the thin side for the style. The after-taste is slightly bitter.

M: Smooth and very crisp, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, dry and very clean finish.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not filling at all, nice kick, good representation of style, this beer is certainly on the lighter side for an IPA, but it works very well. I could definitely stick with this beer for a full evening.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First had: on tap at Monk's, Philly, PA

A: Orange-brown color with a nice off-white head.

S: Hops and crisp citrus.

T: Pleasantly hoppy with tastes of citrus fruits

M: Medium body, smooth, hoppy, but not too strong in that regard.

D: Very drinkable; one of my favorite IPAs.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.7/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So freaking psyched to finally get ahold of this one....

A - Poured a deep orange amber, great two inch head formed on top and left a ton of lace down the glass once it finally decided to let go. Nice carbonation, great overall look, just like an IPA should.

S - Huge citrus hops, and a ton of pine. Some sticky sweet notes as well. Very fresh taste, lots of resiny aromas. Really great smell.

T - Perfect. Just a phenomonal fresh, sticky, resin hoppy bomb of delight. Such a sticky pine fresh taste, lots of fresh cut grass and orange peel. Some light sugar, but a bomb al the way.

M - Super smooth and very very sticky. A bit thick. Very nice carbonation, could put this down all night long with ease.

D - Damn near perfect. Not strong enough to be a sipper, a little heavy though to throw down a ton, but otherwise just about perfect. I would love to try this one on tap, seems like it would be perfect.

Overall this totally lived up to my expectations. It was just great. I would love to have this again and again. I am glad I have a couple more bottles. Just a damn fine IPA if I have ever had one.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.6/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had this on cask at Al's of Hampden, served in a Nonic.

The color is golden hued with amber accents and thick collar of light white w/ a light yellow accent. The clarity is lightly hazed and the bead is very fine. I love the array of fruit odors this ipa presents - very citrus and tropical tinged yet is has a moderately high amount of pine from the hops too. I like the grapefruity presence -it is so pungent it is like smashing your face into a pile of grapefruits. The feel is both bitter and yet smooth at the same time, plenty of natural carbonation with a blend of yeast and softness from the oils of the hops giving a slight dry and the malt body adds a gentle sweetness level.

This IPA is delicous, just so tangy and citrus flavored with some herbal elements giving a well round flavor of bitter orange/grapefruit notes that aren't hampered by the malt. The taste of the malt is very dry, only enough sweetness there to compliment the slight pineapple quality. The bitterness level is optimal with a low level of astringency and the hop goodness lasts for a while after the swallow. I could enjoy a quart of this IPA it is so drinkable on cask, I have enjoyed it equally in each delivery method -tap, bottle and now cask, just delicious in every way. I would prefer it on cask as the hops seem so much more vibrant and fresh this way.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A beautiful golden color and lots of lacing.

S: Tons of citrus hops, some pine, great balance with the malt, though.

T: Very similar to the nose. The grapefruit and floral flavors from the hops are great, and there is a very present bitterness. Not quite as malty as the scents might indicate.

M: Good medium body, and no unpleasant bitter aftertaste.

D: A great IPA that you could drink all day.

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Photo of russpowell
4.56/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a light golden, with a massive white head that holds up all they way. Crazy lacing!!

Grapefruity hops smell and alcohol& malt whiff through.

Big piney hops taste balanced malt and dryness. Grapefruit & lemon hit the tongue & throat. Some slight toasty nuttiness in the malt

Smooth, well carbonated & in harmony

Big beer with enough seductiveness to lure you back in, great hops sandwich!! Wish I could fond this at better price than $5 a 22oz bottle

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Photo of Jason
4.23/5  rDev +1%
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 dbrauneis
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a golden yellow to orange in color with some very light visible carbonation and some moderate sediment in suspension. The beer has a finger tall light beige head that reduces a little but remains as a very thick layer evenly over the entire surface of the beer. Moderate lacing is observed.

S: Lighter aromas of caramel malts that are then superseded by the wonderful hop aromas - I get some citrus, some tropical, and just a hint of pine. The citrus are more along the orange zest note and the topical is all pineapple. There is a nice complexity to the blend of hop aromas.

T: The taste very much follows the nose of this beer with the sweet caramel malts coming out initially but then being taken over by the hop flavors and bitterness. There is a pleasant and light lingering bitterness but nothing aggressive. The hop flavor are bitter orange zest, pineapple, and the slightest hint of pine resin with the pineapple being in the finish and lingering the longest.

M: On the lighter side of medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Smooth and crisp.

O: This is a very approachable and easily enjoyed beer - for fans of IPAs or people just getting started with the style. The beer has a really nice smell and taste, while hoppy is not overly aggressive in the bitterness. I could definitely have more than one of these at a sitting and will likely do so. This beer is easy to drink.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a flared pokal at Bliss.

Plenty of hops at Bliss today. This case-in-point pours a mostly clear sunrise golden-amber topped by a finger of lightly off-white foam. The nose comprises sweet flowers, light grass, greens, grapefruit zest, orange zest, lemon peel, and a few drops of honey in the background. The taste brings in more of the same, withe the citrus and greens really complimenting each other quite nicely. The malt is almost completely drowned-out, but the hops somehow don't o'erpower the tongue, even though they easily could. The body is a rather light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fairly dry finish. Overall, a very nice, hop-forward IPA that doesn't strangle the 'buds with lupulin. Pretty damn enjoyable.

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Photo of orangesol
4.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on cask at Al's of Hampden into a nonic pint. No info was given as to what type of hops were added to the cask. If I had to guess, I would say "TONS!"

A - Pours hazy sunkist orange with a thick pillow of two finger tall white head leaving thick rings of sticky lacing down the glass.

S - I knew I had to get this one when I smelled it from across our table. HUGE pungent hop punch right off the bat with hints of pine resin, grass, and grapefruit. A tiny bit of sweet caramel malt comes thru but this one is really all about the hops.

T - Nice grassy hop bite up front never really leaving the pallet. Light caramel malt and grapefruit acidity offer as much contrast as they can but this one is truly all about the hops. A bit dry in the finish with some lingering hop bitterness. The taste wasn't as good as the nose but I still really enjoyed this one. One of my all time favorites revved up a few extra notches.

M - Medium body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Nice light feel with a bit of dryness toward the end. Plenty of hop bitterness in the finish but it doesn't linger for very long.

D - Very good. I really like racer 5 quite a bit and this version was even better. A touch one dimensional with all those pungent hops but that really isn't a bad thing.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle

A: Pours a light amber color with a decent head that dissipates quickly, but leaves some lacing on the glass.

S: Not as strong as expected, but citrusy and piney with some fruit as well.

T: A nice hoppy taste, but similar to the nose, not as hoppy as expected. A nice balance of hops and sweetness, very good.

M: Very light for an IPA with good carbonation

D:Extremely drinkable, especially compared to some heavier IPAs and DIPAs. Extreme hopheads might not find it to be their favorite, but an extremely enjoyable beer.

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Photo of smcolw
4.27/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy light amber color; nice eggshell head (one finger thick) leaving a ring of lace with each sip.

Nice fresh floral hop aromas. I note this smell each time I pick up the glass for a sip.

IPA's are inherently unbalanced brews. So I get excited when I get the hop wallop along with a strong round flavor of malt. This beer pulls that off. Excellent body with a slightly high carbonation. The aftertaste is bitter, but floral, hop that lasts a very long time.

This probably makes my top three IPA's ever tried (with Stone IPA and Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale). I would love to do a blind tasting of these three. I could drink this all day.

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Photo of billab914
4.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Surly shaped pint glass. Poured clear and amber in color. It started with a very nice frothy white head that quickly started to leave chunks of lacing on the glass. The head had average retention but left excellent lacing as I drank it.

The aroma has a very juicy hop presence to it with some grapefruit, pineapple, mango and a hint of pine coming through. Excellent hoppy aroma overall.

The taste also shows some of the juicy, tropical hoppy flavors. Some pineapple, grapefruit and a bit of peach all come out in the intense hoppiness. A moderate bitterness comes through in the finish. Beautiful hoppy flavor overall.

The mouthfeel is on a little below medium bodied and carbonation is moderate. Drinkability is very good, it had some great hoppy flavors to it and went down very smoothly. Excellent beer overall, and one of my personal favorites.

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Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 4/10/10 notes. Had on tap at the Big Hunt in DC.

a - Pours a copper color with an inch of white head.

s - Smells of citrus, pine, some tropical fruits. Very nice.

t - Follows the nose...citrus and piney hops mostly.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A pretty good and drinkable IPA. I enjoyed the pine and ctirus hops smell and taste. Would have again.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
5/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Orange copper glowing heavenly tone with a massive vanilla cream colored head so massive and full of hops even from a distance wonderful evenly dispersed sketched patterns of lacing very appealing to the eye. Aroma: Extremely pungent but so very appetising almost mesmorizing so I warn thee don't spend to much time sniffing this awesome brew it's so hard to back away the old snout and quit wafting this baby toward my olfactories that are working overtime in order to host this well balanced hop monster. So many enticing and prosperous aromas flying around besides the hops which are breathtaking by the way, but a sweet engulfing aroma is entwined within the massive amount of hops creating the recipe for a succesful big IPA. Taste: Wow, should we even start this part of the beer, might as well it's fucking awesome. I now know why this beer has the surrounding hype that exists when mention it's name the crashing wave of foam carrying bready pine cone infused hops and caramelly sweet malt within the viscous juicly hopped body it's beer nirvana. These beers have truly surpassed everything else certain brewer's have taken it to the next level this beer is no where near the gimmick that some beers attempt to be, but it does so well in soothing my hopheadedness that I can't help but thank anybody that had to do with getting it into my reach. Mouhfeel: The resilent foaming head holds such a fluffy creaminess with each sip followed by a flowing wave of the combonaiton of the body of this beer bringing texture and sensations along the palate that I didn't know could be obtained. Drinkability: It's redamndiculous how friggin' amazing this beer is and how bad I want to order a case from somewhere I would be dangerous with a case of this stuff b/c once this bottle got to the halfway mark I was thinking where can I get more, easily consumed challenging but so enjoyable and drinkable in general.

Since arriving in the Burgh and becoming accessible two blocks down the road this has been by go to hoppy ale, amazing in all regards.

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

Racer 5 (should it be called Racer V?) appears a very clear yellow hue with many particulates meandering about the vessel. The scents are floral and hops, with just a hint of citrus. The taste is quite good, though not in the uppermost echelon of American IPAs / DIPAs. The alcohol is hidden pretty well. There is a nice, sticky hop feel, especially noticeable in the aftertaste. I'd happily drink this again.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.53/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours slightly fogged orange amber with a great crème head and a lot of lacing on the way down. Nose is very piney hops. Flavor is super hops. Stays full and unwavering. Feel is smooth with a thicker liquid body and a good carbonation. It feels just as good as it tastes. This is pretty damn drinkable and pretty damn good.

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Racer 5 India Pale Ale from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
4.19 out of 5 based on 7,507 ratings.
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