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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 natron002
3.81/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle coded 1/10/15 poured into a goblet. Deep orange-gold with slight haze from yeast in the bottle. Orange/citrus hop aroma with pine, somewhat subdued, with Chico yeast twang. Little malt character. More pine as it opens up. Tastes similar to its aroma, then almost pine-sol like hops burst through after initial balance. Aggressive bitterness, long hoppy finish. Medium-full mouthfeel. I would love a little more hop aroma and slightly less bitterness, and less of the yeast character.

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Photo of garuda
3.81/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a clear golden orange with a thick, soapy white head that has good retention and coats the glass with sticky lacing all he way down. I can't think of how this could look any better.

S - Strong citrus hop aromas of grapefruit and pineapple backed up by only a touch of sweet malts.

T - Again, there are some sweet toffee malts first, but then hop bitterness dominates and lingers long after the finish.

M - Light body, especially for the style. Feels very thin across the palate. Carbonation is medium and perfect, however, creating a thin creamy texture.

D - Misses the mark for me with the very thin body. Feels unbalanced, with almost no malt presence. I like an IPA to feel a bit more substantial. Because of this, I wouldn't seek this out again.

Another thing that bugs me is the fact that Bear Republic prints "Honest Ales" on the six pack packaging, however, no freshness or bottled-on dating can be found anywhere.

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Photo of ADR
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bright dark gold color with tiny brown flecks caught in suspension. Nice head, pale in color and lasts about 45 seconds or so. Sheet-like lacing. Bright orange citrus aroma, little else. Mouthfeel is just shy of medium. Hops assert early, juicy and chewy in the American style, and backed by aromatic essence. Straight-up orange rind is the biggest imression here. The malt backbone just doesn't punch through much, but the hops have enough depth to give some interest and a complexity of sorts on the bittering side. Clean finish, but definitely pithy. Well-done beer for a hop mood, but how many IPAs tread the same road?

Source: Liquid Solutions

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Photo of jeffjeff1
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer was delicious.

Appearance- golden honey color, good head, good lacing

Smell- Hops

Taste- Piney hops

Mouthfeel- medium bodied

Drinkability- This beer is very delicious. I loved it. Will drink it again. Bear Republic does a good job. Wonderful

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Photo of bunnyhustle
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice shade of orange with a little haze to it. Nice 1 finger head with great retention and good lacing. Smell is strong of hops but there is a definite malt presence as well, a bit of caramel. Taste is good, however I have to say I was expecting more hops. Hops are there but I think I noticed the malt a little more, especially as the beer warmed. Leaves an oily bitterness as it goes down and slight warming effect from the alcohol. Medium mouthfeel. Overall a good beer.

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Photo of MrBendo
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy orange with a medium head. Low head retention. Good lacing. Aroma of citrus and pine hops and caramel malt. Flavor is moderately sweet and bitter at the back end. Medium to full body. Slightly astringent. Another fine example of a west coast IPA.

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Photo of gfreed
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On a hot night this is a nice thing to drink. Very piney aroma; leathery smell with a very sharp edge. There's even the smell you get when you pull a strip of scotch tape from the roll-- something you will remember from your grammar-school days, I'm sure. Very tight flavor, full of little pins from the abundant carbonation. It starts out resinous and loaded with pine needles, but mellows into a peachy taste when it warms up. I couldn't drink such a thing in the winter but it's welcome in August.

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Photo of HappyBivouac
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottled on May 25, 2009.

a- pours into the chalice a hazy golden-orange with a thin off-white head sitting atop.

s- smells of fresh, juicy citrus and fruity hops-- mainly grapefruit, apple and pear. a slight but detectable honey sits in the back.

t- up front is a very fruity hop punch, with slight grapefruit and also sweet/tart apples and floral notes. A strong honey-like sweetness is present throughout, and the beer goes down leaving a sugary sweet feeling atop strong grapefruit and floral bitterness. The main things going on here are a very honey-like sweetness and fairly complex fruity/floral hops-- there is very little malt presence to speak of.

m- a tad watery, just short of that perfect level of oomph (in terms of body) for an IPA. I like the amount of carbonation-- tickles the mouth unoffensively and brings the beer to life.

d- all in all this beer is an unoffensiveand enjoyable IPA, but comes off a bit unbalanced with a lot of sweetness and not enough malt to carry it. The hops are fairly substantial but stay sharply to the fruity/flowery side. I would call it a decent to strong summer IPA, but drinking it in this season feels slightly out of place and unsatisfying.

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Photo of cbl2
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11/30/2004 $4.99 22 oz. 7.00% No best by date.


Pours a lovely light copper with about an inch of white head. Plenty of carbonation adds to the beauty of this ale.


Plenty of hops in this one, as it should be. This creates some citrus overtones, though the predominating aroma is that of fresh cut pine trees.


A nice piney resin flavor hits the taste buds first, followed by a softening citrus sweetness. A nice dry woodsy finish wraps it all up. A good offering in the IPA department, though not the best I've ever sampled.

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Photo of Glennlawless
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass.

A - hazy yellow with a one finger head. Awesome lacing all over the glass.

S - smell peaches,grapefruit,Carmel malt, little pine.

T - wow this is good- it reminds me a lot of southern teir double ipa- hoppy as hell, but no bite at the end at all- so smooth. Just a citrusy pine hop bomb that dies right after the swallow replaced by sweet malt.

M- medium body, highly carbonated.

Overall, this is my style beer all the way- not over the top bitter at the finish but still super hoppy. This is great. Fresh it has to be awesome!?

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a golden orange with a rocky white head. Very slight haze.

S - Mostly piney hops with a little bit of grapefruit and grass.

T - Piney but the grapefruit and especially the grassy flavors become much more apparent. This one is very grassy in the taste.

M - Well carbonated with a nice dry/bitter finish. I keep getting these grassy burps after each sip.

D - A nice IPA that emphasizes the piney/grassy hops. This one goes down very easy for 7%.

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Photo of SFGuy187
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one fell a bit flat for me. Appearance and smell are alright, but the taste is just not quite there. I expect a west coast IPA to have a certain hop-forward character and this did not at all. Perhaps this 6-pack was old, but this just did not satisfy my hop craving. A solid beer overall, but lacking in hops.

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Photo of mcbSTL
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, 6xer bought for $10 at W&C Place.

A: Copper like the pipe theives stole from our house. Lorraine cheese lacing remained on sides of glass for duration.

S: Didn't expect the significant malt presence here. Hops, sure. More citrus than pine.

T: Very bitter on first swallow. Further along, extreme bitterness slowly giving way to a bit of malt.

M: Just enough alcohol here to designate a big beer.

D: Amount of hops makes drinking a couple of these just perfect.

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Photo of mattcrill
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aroma: Light citrus "C" hop nose. A little bit of crystal malt sweetness. Not the hop punch in the face I was expecting.

Appearance: Hazy copper color with a sticky white head. Rings the glass through the session.

Flavor: Refreshing hop flavor up front with citrus and pine accents. Some crystal maltiness that is clean and dries out nicely. Balanced nicely but definitely slanted toward the hop end of the profile.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Finishes dry and powdery. Hop bitterness lingers on the tongue. No alcohol heat detected.

Overall impression: Understated. An approachable West Coast IPA. Seems a tad one dimensional. May benefit from a more complex grain bill but nothing off here. Well done.

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Photo of danieelol
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Racer 5 pours a crisp golden mango with impressive head and lacing.

Nose is light malt and hop aromas, peach and mango and some alcohol.

Taste is very dry and quite bitter.

Mouthfeel is dry, bitter and soapy, with resin.

Medium body and carb.

Not quite as all-out as WCIPA but very enjoyable nonetheless.

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Photo of tewaris
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

75+ IBUs

12 oz., undated, poured into a shaker pint glass.

Pours amber-golden and relatively clear with a small bubbly head. Head retention can't really be commented upon with this head but some lacing is seen. Average looks, especially for an AIPA.

It's funny how the nose picks different notes at different samplings. When I had Racer 5 for the first time about an year ago, I picked strong tropical fruit notes typical to Centennial hops (Two Hearted Ale); now I pick a spicier note that is even stronger than the faint tropical fruit. The spice is nice and appealing, instead of borderline garlic. But, aroma is not the strong suit of this bottle (or beer?)

Taste is delicious in one word. Light, sweet frutiness and plenty of spicy to weedy character on a medium-low body with crisp carbonation and a clean finish. Let's nitpick now: the taste is slightly sweet for the body and the bitterness lacking at times: I expect IPAs to be bitter at the back of the palate and this one goes down without that "kick". However, there's bitter aftertaste aplenty to compensate.

I am really digging the clear, clean flavors; the crispness; and the dry finish that is not quite Duvel-like, but approaches it. Overall it's a good beer that doesn't wreck the wallet or the palate.

Appearance 3/5; Aroma 3/5; Taste 4/5; Mouthfeel 4/5; Overall 4.5/5

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Photo of TimZebGir
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%

A: Lightly cold hazy (my friend’s that was not as cold was almost transparent), golden yellow with greenish tinge—light foamy head leaves faint ring throughout drink 3/3
S: Grassy and citrusy, but not all that strong 9/12
T: Citrusy middle rounded out with floral notes, with alcoholic tinge throughout, finish is a grapefruity hang 15/20
F: Astringent throughout, light carbonation 4/5
Overall: Perhaps Racer 5 was aggressive when it was first brewed 15-some-years-ago, but this is now a quite pleasant and subdued alternative to the hop-assaults on the market today 7/10
Total = 38/50

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Photo of lordofstarside
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz to a snifter, no freshness date

Pours a nice hazy shade of gold, very good color. One finger of foam with acceptable retention and good lacing. Smells of a nice mesh of hop and bready malt. Some floral tones come through, as well as some pine and grapefruit. Taste follows the nose well. Hoppy malt come through strongest with some pine resin, not much citrus going on here. Feel is pretty good, nice crisp and dry finish, and a good amount of bitterness. Over all I was expecting more from this beer, but it's still pretty good. If it was available in my area I'd pick some up every now and again

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Photo of oracle
3.79/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer exhibited a split personality. I was pouring the bomber bottle into a 16oz shaker style glass. The first half of the pour was noticably different from the 2nd half.

The first half was a typical light copper, clear with small head that left no lacing. The second (containing all the yeast in the bottle) was quite opaque, with extensive lacing all the way down.

Nose was about the same for both halves with hops predominating (as expected for an IPA) with a strong undertone of fruit, possibly plums.

Taste was remarkable different from the first half of the bottle to the second. In the first half, the overall impression was sharp, with the hops dominating, but also a strong tartness that I just didn't care for in an IPA.
The second half was much more smooth, with a delightful finish, pleasantly bitter with just a hint of sweetness.

An interesting beer and one I hope to try again.

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Photo of minterro
3.79/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A & S: right after opening there was a bold citrus plume. There is also a pleasant bready “maltyness” to the smell, just moderately hoppy. The beer is a golden transparent yellow and there are microscopic bubbles rising from the bottom. The head is off-white and doesn’t stick around, not a bit of lacing.

T & M: Upfront the taste is floral hops and sweet (a bit too sweet) malts. The taste is kinda bland. I was expecting a bit more. The finish is quite bitter, with a very slight dryness, but there is no unpleasant aftertaste like in some IPA’s. very smooth even a bit creamy. Well balanced. By the taste it seems like it should have a higher percent alcohol. Very nice carbonation (better in the beginning), on the higher end of a medium bodied beer. Pretty drinkable.

O: I thought this beer would be a bit better after I had their Rye IPA, but its still pretty darn good.

My normal rating process is to rate the beer then look at how other people (most the top raters) rated the beer, and I was shocked to see how many people really, really liked this beer. Maybe I got a “less good” batch or maybe it’s a bit old, I don’t know but, I didn’t see what others saw in this beer.

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Photo of TangTKE402
3.79/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Rare Vos pint glass. Golden brown in color with a nice, 1-finger ecru head and a touch of lacing. Hazy without being opaque.

S: Dried pine needles and some fresh citrus rind. A malted barley undertone with a fresh hop aroma that lingers. It smells inviting.

T: A dry maltiness on the tongue with a rich middle and a hoppy swallow. A bone-dry aftertaste lingers. This beer is a bitter IPA with a strong malt backbone. Flavors of bread with pine nuts, grapefruit rind, dead pine needles, earth, leather, and a pine tar bitterness are the main flavors I taste. An interesting juxtaposition between bready malts and piney hops. Not always blended smoothly...

M: Thick and robust without being overpowering, this beer has a great mouthfeel until the arid swallow and resulting afterfeel suck all of the moisture out of your mouth. Some people may be looking for that, but I like my IPAs a little more consistent.

O: For those interested in a complex, chalk-dry and bitter IPA, this is it. It's tasty, but oddly disjointed and disharmonious. I'd rarely pass one up, but there are more superior IPAs out there. I wish it tasted more like it smelled.

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Photo of OnThenIn
3.79/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This beer rather cloudy and actually has floaties, which kinda kills the appearance. The beer has a dark copper color and an off white head. There was a finger of head, but it quickly dissipated leaving some nice lacings.

Smell: Man this is hops with a side of sweetness. The hops are really fruity with some passionfruit and citrus. There is some lemon aroma as well. There is some sweet malt backing the hops. Just a really balanced smell.

Taste: The taste starts out with bitterness, but really opens up to a sweeter, citrus hop based flavor and finishes pretty clean with an underlying bitterness. The taste is not very complex, but it has a nice balance.

Mouthfeel: Medium to thin bodied beer. The carbonation is a little on the light side, but there is a very clean finishing helping make this a rather refreshing beverage.

Drinkability: This seems even more of an easy drinking beer than a good deal of the other ipas I have been having lately, like Ithaca's Flower Power.

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Photo of GuzzLah
3.79/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - pours a clear, gold with a short white head and leaves a little lace. No bubbles.

S - pine, resinous, citrus hops. Soft pale malt. The yeast is neutral.

T - is like the aroma. Could be a palate wrecker with the hops they used, but they managed to make a potentially rough set of hops behave and play well together. The absence of caramel is appreciated in this brew.

M - low-medium body and carbonation. Medium bitterness for the style with a medium sustain and just enough sweetness to keep the bitterness in check.

O - this is a nice example of a restrained West Coast IPA. I'd be happy to drink it again.

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Photo of centbeerfest
3.78/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass at home

A: cloudy with a light caramel/pumpkin color. Short head and compact bubbles

S: hoppy but not overwhekming.

T: crisp with a bit on the heavy side of hops. sour finish with lingering bitterness

M: hearty and will stand on its own

D: Little unbalanced on the hoppy side. Serious beer that won't leave you underwhelmed. As good on the last sip as the first.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
3.78/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at T. Phillips Alehouse, part of their recent addition of Bear Republic brews to their tap list. Served in a standard pint glass.
Racer 5 had a clear coppery color, lots of finely wrought carbonation, and a dense off-white head that grudgingly shrank and left thick sheets of lace clinging to the glass. Very attractive.
The nose raised my eyebrows - is this really an IPA, the same one I had out of a bottle 18 months ago? Has it been that long? Racer 5's nose struck me as having more in common with some APA's than what I've come to expect from a West Coast IPA. Yes, there was a definite hops presence, nicely smelling of citrus peels and, to a lesser degree, pine needles. But the malty sweetness seemed a lot more solid and held its own.
Hmm, a few pulls had me continuing to question what was up with Racer 5. It didn't strike me as having the robust hoppiness I've tasted before. The malt profile was more pronounced and in keeping with an APA. The maltiness and sweet caramel flavor carried through to the finish and remained intact up against the citrusy hops bite, which seemed oddly lacking. Even the feel seemed to be missing something, being light dry and not as lively as the level of carbonation would lead me to believe.
Overall, Racer 5 is still a pretty nice IPA; easily quaffable and well constructed. To me, it seemed like the hoppy edge had been worn down to create a more balanced brew. I still recommend it, though.

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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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