Racer 5 India Pale Ale | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

7,642 Ratings
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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Ratings: 7,642 |  Reviews: 2,318
Photo of biegaman
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Racer 5 both smells and looks like a blend of pineapple, tangerine and papaya juice; it has yellow, orange and dark orange colours with a naturally cloudy complexion. Looking into the glass against the light reveals little visibility but plenty of bubbles. Its head is both bubbly and filmy - it looks like a coral reef with waves of lacing washed up against the glass.

As mentioned already, juicy notes of pineapple, tangerine and papaya stand out, but there are also lesser flavours of coconut, pine resin and tree bark. The malts - what little can be made out of them - are like honeyed-toasted biscuits, but their sweetness is no match for the bitter orange peel skin and apricot pits. It is also grassy, like an herbal tea laxative.

The best American IPAs have a candied-citrus taste and plenty of acidic citrus zest - that describes Racer 5 to a tee. This tastes like a fruit salad that combines under-ripe cantaloupe, lychee and papaya fruits, slices of mandarin and is topped with a lemon juice/white grapefruit vinaigrette and garnished with boiled, sweetened orange peel. Very fruity.

Candied, caramelized sweetness balances out a lot of the citric acidity, but doesn't cover up for the sugary, pineapple-tasting sweetness nor the trace of earthy, pungent, pine needle-like notes. This beer has such a resinous finish that no bready maltiness, no matter how supportive and noted it may be, conceals that fact. It's plenty refreshing as result.

I don't think the palm trees are as common when you get as north as Healdsburg, but this thing is tropical enough to serve with an umbrella garnish. That said, it is still a tremendously bitter beer and the combination of the two qualities makes this among the best of American IPAs, as good (and better than many) as any others produced in the Golden State.

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Photo of magictacosinus
4.48/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

THIS is the beer that not only got me into fresh, hoppy beers, but arguably craft brewing in general. It's one of my all time favorites and am happy to finally be reviewing it.

Poured into a pint glass from a 12oz bottle. No freshness date.

Appearance: A beautiful, bold amber-orange color with a small, foamy head.

Smell: Citrus, pine, and floral hops with very spicy and sweet aromas. It actually smells so good that it's reminiscent of standing in front of a large grove on a warm day.

Taste: With every sip, I'm in heaven. Where to start? The hops! They taste absolutely amazing here! Reminiscent of grapefruit and lime, they contain an initially strong bite on the tongue, yet in a mere second, the sensation passes and descends in an orangish fruity flavor. A lot of IPAs have a strong honey flavor in moments like those, yet here it is nothing but awesome fruity aftertastes. The malts in this beer further smoothen the drinking experience, and the relatively high alcohol content helps sweeten it further.

Mouthfeel: An IPA this powerful that is easy enough to drink does not come around often. It may hold lots of complex, dense flavors, but it's refreshing and blissfully relaxes the palate.

Overall: Quite possibly THE gentle giant of West Coast-style IPAs. While it has a huge full-bodied flavor, it does not overpower the senses. Its hops and malts are unreal, and the yeast used is fresh and delicious. An opportunity to drink this should never be passed by. If I remember well, it's also excellent on tap.

Postscript: This is why I need to read more and drink less. I absolutely had NO idea that bottled versions of this beer were bottle conditioned. That explains the flaky, murky appearance of this brew... and also another reason why it's so damn tasty.

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Photo of fatmcb1
3.77/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a pilsner glass

Light golden color with a finger of head. There is great lacing and also a bit of sediment.

Smell is of citrusy hops, with a light bready backbone.

This is hop forward, but not highly aggressive. Plenty of orange and grapefruit, with sweet caramel malt to balance the beer. Carbonation is medium, and the hop oils make this quite sticky.

I enjoyed this beer. It isn't over complex, but does a great job of what it attempts to be.

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Photo of chocosushi
3.07/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A ~ The definition of toffee with a creamy carbonated, yet lacking head. Looks like an EIPA.

S ~ Heavy tree resins & bark with heavy burnt citrus. Hints of chili pepper spice & malt.

T ~ LOTS of tree resin with a heavy biscuit-malt backbone. Touch of grapefruit & honestly picking up vanilla & cocoa somehow. There's mango, orange peel, & spicy hops, as well. Booze.

M ~ Crisp & bitter, but it seems like it should have a higher ABV for the taste, as it is very "hot." I had to pour out the last 1/4, I just was not feeling the balance on this one. Too Resinous for a non-imperial IPA in my opinion.

D ~ It was poorly toeing the line between hop-bomb & malt balance. Boozy and very spicy, I was turned off but what they were going for with this one. As resinous as a IIPA without the cleverly masked ABV. Wouldn't recommend.

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Photo of NODAK
4.17/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is definitely a strong pine resin smell...there is a sweet malt background there as well, but this definitely is a hoppy aroma.

Again, the initial taste is of piney, hoppy goodness which isn't a surprise considering the nose. There's a spicy, biscuit malt that appears in the middle with a medium-small intensity that makes itself known but certainly takes a backseat. Along with it, there's a small sweet, caramel presence as well. This is washed away by a pretty strong pine resin bitterness that prevails through the finish and allows it to end on a rather bitter note.

Pretty good IPA here. I like that there's some balance to it, but there isn't any mistake that it's a pretty hoppy one as well. I was in the mood for a more hop forward IPA, and this fit the bill.

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

Poured a meager 1/4" white head. Attractive hazy apricot orange and yellow in color. Smell and taste are both fairly mild but sweet and fruity. This is a much easier drinking IPA than so many of the other craft beers, but then again it doesn't have nearly the hoppy punch that real hopheads crave. Good but not outstanding. And might I add just one pint of this gave me quite a headache the next morning.

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Photo of enfield249
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark yellow to orange in color, with a thick white creamy head that fades to a thin film. Lots of lacing.

S - Pine, flowers, sweet malt, slight citrus. Mostly hop presence.

T - The first flavor I get is the citrus hops, followed by malt, then a spicy hop flavor, and on the tale end pine. There is a lot of hop flavor.

M - Full, cloying, and a hop bitterness that lingers for a good long while.

O - A great example of a AIPA. Really tasty.

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Photo of mattmuck11
4.77/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from 12 oz bottle to pint glass.

A - Less head than I would imagined would be present. Color is a rich golden orange with heavy presence of carbonation and yeast from bottle conditioning. Overall striking and beautiful.

S - bright citrus nose, with strong grapefruit notes and slight earthy pine.

T/M - Strong hop character at first with lasting bitterness to the end of the swallow and then some. Citrus hops give way to a malty background that provides a perfect balance making this beer easy to drink and smooth for such a brilliant IPA.

O - One of my favorite IPAs so far. So smooth and drinkable for how brilliant the hop character is. Highly recommended brew.

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Photo of fsvan
4.65/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap Millers Pub in Chicago....Drive by mobile review.

A- Nice orange in color

S- Citrus hops...lots of 'em

T- In a word awesome. A truw west coast IPA hop bomb. Oily, clinging citrus hop bitterness.

M- light of medium. Great for thr style.

O- The hype this beer gets is for a reason...it's awesome.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.94/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle poured into two pint glasses.

Appearance - The first glass was a clear golden color with a decent white head. The second was almost murky, despite not pouring the last half inch of beer. Neither beer retained the head well and neither exhibited very impressive lacing.

Smell - Floral hops with some citrus. Not really as strong of a hop aroma as I was looking for. I don't get a lot of malt, despite that it isn't a wave of hops drowning out everything else.

Taste - Citrus hops and a bit of pine followed by malt. Again, not strong hops, but present. The malts are the slightest bit sweet with some toastiness. In the finish is an ample bitterness.

Mouthfeel - It's about right for a single IPA. Not a lot of body, but just barely enough for the bitterness to linger. The other flavors are gone almost instantaneously, though.

Overall - I wasn't all that impressed. I had high hopes, but the hop presence just wasn't there.

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Photo of pmarlowe
4.12/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tulip glass. 22oz bottle. Can't locate bottling date.

Pours a clear orangish gold, finger of off-white foam with medium sized bubbles, okay retention and good lacing. Smells like orange, pineapple, passion fruit, mango, some pineyness in the secondary. Delicious, clean aromas. Tastes is a little more pine forward, with orange and pineapple, a moderate dose of malt, and a long, moderately bitter finish. Medium bodied, medium carbonation, slightly oily. Overall, this is a great everyday IPA: good taste, great value.

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Photo of Tucquan
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had this on 2011-03-09 at the Drafting Room in Exton, PA

A - Almost clear straw-amber with a 1.5 finger, pillowy head with good lacing.

S - Light citrus pulp, pine, biscuit and hop floral. Not overly strong.

T - Grapfruit, biscuit, mild caramel, pine, naval orange sweetness, which quickly yields to the grapefruit.

M - Light to medium body and carbonation (more than I expected on-cask). Smooth and a little prickly.

D - Very good. I subsequently had it in the tasting room at the brewery and it was magnificent.

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Photo of Tballz420
4.42/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pretty hazy brew, light gold color on the bottom half and a darker orange color on the top half. Small white head leaves its impression on the glass. Sweet malts backed by sticky hop sap for the scent. Mmm. Thats a goodin. Sweet malt start gets dominated by a nice thick blend of hops. Citrusy, oily, flowery, bitter. This brews for the hop-lovers. Medium bodied and smooth. Lovely drink.

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Photo of Dieseljaxx
4.67/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bear Republic rarely disappoints. They are one of the most consistent breweries going and definitely have an appreciation for hoppy beers. This beer has a wonderful color, smells delicious and the taste meets those expectations. This is a tasty IPA that provides that crisp hoppiness you get with a good IPA but doesn't overwhelm the palate. This beer is very drinkable and should be consumed often.

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Photo of byteme94
2.56/5  rDev -38.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I bought this beer on vacation and had very high hopes. Split between myself and two other avid beer enjoyers.

All of us were in agreement that it was just an okay IPA. Poured into tulips, very minimal head. Appearance was nice with a darker orange/amber color.

Taste was not fully there, hops on the front not too citrusy and tastes left mouth almost as soon as I swallowed it.

All were in agreement it was just okay - and being able to have the option to try anyother IPA blindly in front of us over that one would do so.

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Photo of FatBoyGotSwagger
4.42/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured it into my pint glass. It has a dark golden amber appearance.

The first smell that jumps out at me is some resinous piney hops, there are some sweeter hops to balance it but the resinous bitter hop smell is pronounced at 40 degrees.

The taste is glorious, lots of hops. It starts fruity floral but finishes bitter and resinous. I would say It is perfectly balanced.

The mouth feel is pretty light, for all the flavor Racer 5 goes down pretty easy.

As it warms up it becomes more enjoyable.

Overall I knew this was a fresh bottle and when fresh this is a must try IPA.

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Photo of boudreaux
4.73/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Racer 5 pours a deep golden color with hints of red along the edges. A nice thick foamy off-white head that built up to 3 fingers and stayed there for quite a while. Quite clear in my pint glass.
smell: The aroma seemed to leap out at me. It had a wonderful hop bouquet. It was piney, floral and citrusy.
As expected, the first sip or two was bitter with a drying effect on the end.
Taste: the blend of malts, hops and yeast gave this beer a nice crisp taste. Bear Republic put in a generous amount of Columbus and Cascade hops into this beer but held back from going too far with the IBUs. I could pick up an underlying sweetness of the malts when not inhaling as I sipped. But just as soon as I breathe in, the hop sensation nearly masks the sweetness of the grains.
Mouthfeel: smooth and creamy with a full bodied texture.

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Photo of zeledonia
4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 4 June 2011. Enjoyed 1 July 2011, and reviewed from notes.

Pours a light, yellowish amber with a solid off-white head that lasts and leaves really good lacing. Streams of bubbles showing off the carbonation.

Smell is full of great hop flavors, mostly pine with a bit of citrus.

Taste is all about hops (mostly pine), with decent malt backing. But definitely hop-forward. Starts out full and slightly sweet, then comes on bitter and piney with some citrus (orange peel and grapefruit), and stays bitter through the finish. The malt flavors aren't on display, but their presence gives the beer a good platform for the hops to stand on.

Mouthfeel is great - medium-bodied, a little sticky but not too much so, smooth, well-carbonated, and a great persistent finish.

A very tasty, mostly hoppy IPA, with great pine and subtle citrus flavors. Not overpoweringly bitter, but really brings the tasty aromatics out of the hops. I have nothing bad to say about it, and I will definitely drink it again.

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

12 ounce bottle poured into my Racer 5 pint glass. This is my second bottle from this six-pack, and the first sure tasted fresh. This is one of my favorite west coast "gems".

A: Pours a hazy golden color with a wonderful lively frothy white head on top. Some "pancake batter" bubbles in the middle. I like that.

This brew is leaving great lacing on my glass as I work through it.

S: Grapefruit and pine in the nose. Moderate intensity.

T: Taste follows the nose. Taste starts smooth before grapefruit rushes in. This beer strikes a great balance, with just the right amount of sweet malt backbone behind to balance things out. It finishes wonderfully bitter, with a hint of pine, and yes, even MORE grapefruit goodness.

M: Light and lively, this beer has just the right level of carbonation, feels light in the mouth, and coats the tongue nicely with hop oils.

D/O: Drinkability is High. Very high. I love this beer. So much so that this bottle is actually my second of the evening. I liked the first one so much I decided to review the second.

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Photo of StoutHunter
4.43/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I bought a bottle of Racer 5 India Pale Ale a couple days ago for $1.69 at The Lager Mill. I was impressed with my first beer from Bear Republic, Hop Rod Rye, So I decided to see what else they are working with and picked up a bottle of Racer 5, so lets see how it goes. No visible bottling date. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a imperial pint glass.

A- The label looks good and keeps with the vintage car racing scheme that Hop Rod Rye had. It poured a orange/golden yellow color with three fingers worth of fluffy white head that died down to a thick layer that stayed the rest of the time.

S- The aroma is pretty much dominated by the hops in this beer. It's got three different hoppy aromas going on. First is the citrus with pineapple sticking out the most along with a little bit of mango, orange zest, and grapefruit. The second was pine which imparted some dank and resiny aromas. The third was floral hops which isn't as strong as the other two but adds a nice subtle complexity to the aroma. The hops took over the aroma so I really couldn't pick up any of the malts in the aroma.

T- The malts actually come through in the flavor and to me they taste like a mixture of pale and caramel malts that make for a nice base for this beer and it has just the right amount of sweetness. The hops are still the major player here, just like they should be. At first I pick up a good amount of pineapple along with a little bit of orange zest. The pney and floral hops come out on the finish along with some grapefruit to make for a nice medium amount of bitterness that fits this beer perfectly.

M- Smooth, slightly dry, and meduim bodied with just the right amount of carbonation, the mouthfeel is just right for an IPA.

Overall I thought this was a pretty good IPA. The hops are there in abundance and are pretty assertive and combine citrus, pine, and floral hops together to make for a great hop profile that is balanced well and doesn't completely overshadow the malt base like it did in the aroma. Everything was pretty spot on in this IPA and I liked the drinkability and mouthfeel the most with the rest being almost as good, if I had another one I would drink it, it hits the spot on this warm summer night. I would buy this beer again, I like how it combined the different aspects of hops together rather then just focusing one aspect. I recommend this beer to any hop head or IPA lover, it will calm your hop cravings. This was another home run for Bear Republic, now I feel like I have to try the rest of their lineup since everything I have had from them so far has been very well done.

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Photo of samie85
5/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-An aggressive pour yields a very clear light orange color with a finger and a half of thick white head.

S-Smells of dank pine and huge pineapple notes with some mango and light caramel notes.

T-Big pineapple and caramel on the front with some bitter pine and grapefruit on the finish.

M-Extremely smooth feel with a medium body and light carbonation.

D-This is an incredibly balanced, yet flavorful IPA. I've had this one before, but I'm not sure why I haven't revisited it since. I'll be sure to in the future.

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

Poured into a paper cup (I know, but it was all that was available. At least I got a cup!). Dark gold with a yellow-white pillowy head. Bottle conditioned, so some sediment. Pine hops aroma and taste with some malt and alcohol aftertaste. Went well with a pepperoni pizza. A solid IPA.

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Photo of goblue3509
3.92/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orangish copper like color that has visible floatees with a one finger head which gives way to skim and leaves a little bit of lace on the glass. The aroma is of a nice floral presence combined with a citrus, lemons, oranges, and grapefruit smell. There is then a hint of an earthy hop bite at the end. The taste is balanced by a sweet malt backbone with hints of citrus. In the tail end of the beginning the rest of the way through there is an earthy hop bite, not a huge bitter bite, but a nice and smooth hop bite. The mouthfeel is moderately carbonated. Overall it is a solid beer, it is something I would go back to for sure. It is well balanced yet pretty straight forward for an ipa.

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Photo of trisweb
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap, Central Kitchen in Cambridge. New favorite. Clean reddish gold color, full hoppy slightly sweet smell—knew it would taste good as soon as I smelled it.

(First real review so forgive me if I don't know what I'm talking about!) Flavor overall is hoppy, fresh, and clean. Some citrus and hop resin flavor and aroma up front, hoppy and fruity in the body with a full but unmuddled flavor. Mouthfeel is full and thick for an IPA, sticks to your mouth just the right amount. Finish is clean and satisfying with lighter non-bitter sweetness of fruit and hop, very nice.

Overall this is an excellent IPA with a full on confident hop flavor, that's very easy to drink and not overwhelming. It's a great balance and I think close to ideal for an IPA to me. Looking forward to trying it again!

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured golden orange with some reddish tendencies, with an off white head - good lacing.

Smells largely of citrus hops sweet orange, bitter grapefruit and lemon, with a subdued malty sweetness.

Hits you with powerful citrus hops, lots of flavor popping around, backed up by a solid, sweet malty spine. An excellent beer. I had this on tap at Shady McGrady's after the Harrisburg beer fest and it stood out against all the other IPAs I tried that day.

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Racer 5 India Pale Ale from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
4.19 out of 5 based on 7,642 ratings.
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