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Racer 5 India Pale Ale | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

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2,291 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: 2,291 | Ratings: 7,510
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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Photo of Rastacouere
3.78/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Deep golden-amber body, clear with little sediments surfing accross the bottom of the glass. Aroma is mostly constituted of grapefruity C-hops. There are also floral hop notes, but really, grapefruit is totally dominant. On the tongue, you’re hit by more of this high acid alpha hop fest, a bit of flowers and a decent malty body which comes out as peachy and cookie-ish. Good balanced american type IPA, but the style doesn’t do much for me. While the mouthfeel is very well rounded and display high carbonation a bit like a belgian, the flavors still feel rather simple, akin to grapefruit juice with a very warming finish where the 7% gets felt. Thanks to Mzwolinski for the opportunity!

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Photo of Pecafaced
3.78/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

A- Nice golden color with about a finger width of white head.

S- Picked up on some grassy and citrus notes. It wasn't as hoppy as I was expecting it to be.

T- Definitely an IPA. The hops hits you first with those grassy and citrus flavors. Then some mild biscuity malt flavors follow. But the hops dominate this beer flavor.

M- Good carbonation in the bottle. Very light in body.

O- A good IPA. But not great. I'm not sure of how fresh this one was but I'm sure it would be better the fresher you can get it.

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Photo of justintcoons
3.78/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a shaped pint glass.

Hazy gold with 2 fingers of white head. Moderate-heavy carbonation with a lot of yeast sediment floating about.

Orange citrus, grapefruit, caramel and bread dough. Hints of clove, potpourri and cinnamon.

Candied orange, grapefruit juice and tangerine. Lighter notes of lemon and bready malts. Grapefruit zest and pine resin hit hard in the back. There does seem to be touches of cinnamon and clove somewhere in there as well.

Medium bodied, crisp, silky, bitter and dry.

For whatever reason the bitterness and spiciness are giving me cinnamon and clove flavors that simply are not there, but overall this remains a very classic tasting American IPA.

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

Served from bottle into standard pint glass.

Pours a hazy golden amber color, with some orange mixed in. Huge fluffy off white head, excellent retention, leaving tons of sticky lace.

Aroma has some toasted malt, but is mostly orange and tangerine citrus.

Flavor has enough malt to balance things out, but is dominated by the citrus hop notes. Finish has pretty standard grapefruit bitterness, which is moderate and lasts into the aftertaste.

Medium body, moderate carbonation. Good balance. Almost a little bit on the chewy or oily side in terms of mouthfeel. Almost leaning towards being slightly full bodied...I wouldn't call it crisp, which I generally prefer in a basic IPA. Pretty much a good standard IPA, though. I don't know that anything makes it stand out against other examples....except it has a much bigger head and a lot more lace most I've tried. Certainly a session candidate.

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Photo of Premo88
3.78/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle poured into pint glass

L: light gold ... yellow-gold with just hint of amber up to light; not 100% clear (bottle-conditioned debris?) but mostly clear; big 1-inch head or more of mostly white foam, really sticks and a bit of lacing

S: grapefruit; some definite malt and grain, pretty sweet

T: citrus, grapefruit; some grain in there, and for an IPA, there is a lot of malt trying like hell to push through all that bitter hoppy hops ... impressive

F: smooth and watery, almost silky ... the bottle conditioning possibly could use a bit more time to push the CO2 into this thing -- it's not bad at all but watery all the same

O: I could deal with this beer any day of the week, but with that said, there are other IPAs I enjoy more. I can see why this is considered by many to be a classic, for it's easy drinking and plenty tasty -- and the bitter bite here is not a crazy in-your-face deal that ruins your palate.

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Photo of blackjack000
3.78/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber bottle poured into a goblet.

Appearance: Deep honey gold. Beautiful, frothy head--thick-looking, like the head on a root beer float.

Smell: Citrus and sugary. Grapefruit rolls into my nose and singes my nosehairs.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Grapefruit comes out right off the bat. Big time. Wow. Overwhelming grapefruit flavor. Very strong grapefruit aftertaste. A sweet, malty backtaste sits in the background. The grapefruit is turned to 10, it's hard to notice anything else going on. The tingly carbonation works well to highlight the citrus puckering flavor. The overall feel almost makes me feel like I'm drinking some kind of grapefruit soda/beer drink.

Drinkability: A very nice IPA. Very distinct. However, that being said . . . I don't know if I would be down to drink more than one at a sitting. The citrus tends to blow me away. I don't think I'm man enough to sit through another wave.

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

Hazy, glowing golden orange body, with languous bubbles of fine carbonation. Head it creamy white, leaving amazing lacing. Great looking IPA.

Smell is also great, a beautiful tropical fruit hit - tastes of passionfruit, pineapple, menthol and pawpaw. It's not as overtly powerful as it could be, but it's very nice all the same.

Taste is a resinous bitter character, quite sharp, but clean and fresh, full of character. There's not a huge amount of complexity there, but it's tasty. Strong and robust hop bitterness that resonates through to the back palate. Mouthfeel is a little thin, surprisingly, but the sparkling character matches the hop bite nicely.

This is a pretty decent IPA - it doesn't knock my socks off, but it's solid, drinkable and enjoyable. At least it's a good example of the style.

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

A: nice clean, golden refreshing appearance to it. huge sticky head and nice lacing.

S: Some very noticeable piney and resinous smell to this. Some citrus and a little bit of other sweet fruit.... strawberry maybe?

T: Again, pine, citrus, and a nice hop slam packed full of bitterness. Sweet and bitter at the same time on the aftertaste. Not much of a malt presence on the front or back end of this beer. Finishes dry and stays on the palate for a while.

M: Smoothe and sticky, a nice soft body on the tongue.

D: Pretty drinkable. The dry finish and large amount of hop presence doesnt' balance as well as if it probably had more of a malt backbone. Still a very good ipa worthy of the high marks it has recieved.

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

Poured out a slightly orangey honey gold color with a HUGE foamy off white head. The nose offered grapefruit, spice, yeast, green hops. The taste is mostly yeast to me, backed by malt, then with lots of oily hop resin bringing up the rear. Has a slightly crisp mouthfeel and is pretty drinkable, hiding the 7% very well.

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

This used to be my favorite beer, but it is typically better on tap than in the bottle. copper orange color, earthy hop nose, medium bitterness with a moderate mouthfeel.

My favorite american IPA's include stone IPA, Great Divide Titan, Avery IPA and Racer 5. Though after having yesterday at Lord Hobo on tap and today in a bottle, I have to say, it doesn't compete with the aforementioned others anymore. Great Divide, Stone and Avery are very close to each other, and from now on, I will buy whichever is the cheapest out of the 3. Racer 5 lacks the complexity and mouthfeel it used to have. I have even travelled to the brewery itself 2x, and although it is still a very good beer, I can no longer call it great.

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Photo of Reaper16
3.77/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber served into a 2009 Boulevard Smokestack Series goblet

Pours a golden, candied yellow with decent, one finger white head. Nothing sticks out as especially impressive or out of the ordinary. It looks like an IPA, basically.

The hop character of this beer is expressed in an abundance of pine notes. The nature of this beer opens up some damp, earthy notes as the beer warms. A gentle kiss of lemon sweeps through, faintly; otherwise this is one of the least citrus-centric IPAs that I've had in some time. What is here is pleasant and appetizing, but compared to top IPAs (even to Bear Republic's own Hop Rod Rye) the aromas are not in the same neighborhood of complexity.

On the palate, the pungency of the hops is immediate. They lend a moist, almost spoiled quality to the beer (in a good way, if that makes sense). There is a much more pronounced floral character on the tongue, with helps to temper the pine that otherwise dominates the hop profile. Racer 5, this bottle at least, is not solely about the hops, however. There is a burst of malt sweetness that keeps the pungent hops in check, and this maltiness maintains its strength throughout the drink. At times you can really catch the caramel malt like silk, working its way through the pale malt.

The mouthfeel is fine. It seems light, which I like in IPAs, but for some reason I don't feel that the mouthfeel works with the flavors here. I think that it might be the overactive carbonation. If you've read my recent IPA reviews then you know that I typically love a light-bodied, prickly IPA but Racer 5 is perhaps too prickly. The harshness of the effervescence takes away from my ability to perceive the subtleties of the beer. Drinkability has to be scored well. If there is a plus to the over-active carbonation its that it refreshes the palate quickly from its lingering pine flavors. I know that this comes in 6 packs now, and Racer 5 would be an ideal IPA for an afternoon on the couch watching football, say.

Overall, this Bear Republic offering is not an IPA that blew me away (unlike Hop Rod Rye, which ranks among my top 5 IPAs). There are other IPS that better showcase the totality of what the hop can be. But a solid, drinkable, tasty IPA is nothing to be ashamed of. I wouldn't throw rocks at this IPA. Its clearly west-coast in nature and would satisfy a hop craving. Its good stuff.

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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 Jnashed
3.77/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle poured in a simple pint glass. Date on bottle 10/30/13, so maybe a bit dated for an IPA but kept in a cool fridge.

A: cloudy pale orange. Moderate head and retention

S: biggie and citrus notes. Muted compared to others but maybe because of age on it. Still lots of orange rind and piney notes

T: yum.... Solid pine hop notes upfront with resin on the back end. Some fruit but not as fruity as many newer IPAs. Nice malt balance though.

M: nice full body and moderate carbonation.

O: Soild if not exceptional. Hits all the right notes of a good West coat IPA which of course it is.

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Photo of mbarbuto2002
3.77/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Nice amber color with a 1 finger head.

S- Hoppy, hints of grapefruit.

Taste- Just enough bitterness without leaving a lasting impression.

M- Carbonation only sticks around for a few seconds, smooth going down.

D- a very drinkable IPA. Not as much "pop" as a lot of other West Coast IPA's.

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Photo of callmescraps
3.77/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Lady friend picked this up at Whole Foods. She used it to barter for some cheese. Clever one that one.

Appearance - Nice light copper-orangish color. A little hazy with a half inch of head sticking around. Laces nicely all the way down.

Smell - Very nice. I definitely get the grapefruit, and the citrus, although there is something almost astringent lingering. Nice hoppy character.

Taste - Pretty hoppy up front. Definitely some of that citrus and grapefruit. Cascadish I might say. Can actually taste some bread in there as well. It dries pretty harshly however on the finish. Almost feels like I just used mouthwash. It's a little harsh on the back end. Also, there seems to be another level where this one can't quite reach. I could ask for a little more complexity.

Mouthfeel - Pretty rich. Coating the tongue, and a tad syrupy. Nothing too unpleasant though, pretty hearty.

Drinkability - Pretty solid. I enjoy it, and could put back a couple. The booze is pretty well disguised.

Overall, this is a nice IPA. It's got some good floral hoppiness, and decent intensity. It's just lacking a back end, and that extra something that sets the great ones apart. Still, a very solid bev. I've always thought of it as a reliably good beer, and this has done nothing to dissuade that opinion.

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Photo of Axnjxn
3.77/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

pours a cloudy golden color with a slight, quickly dissipating head.

grassy, hoppy aroma on the nose. not a huge hop bomb like I expected.

taste is, again, quite subdued. hops and malts are both there but aren't in your face huge. good citrus aftertaste with no alcohol present. higher side of medium bodied with low carbonation. decent drinkability.

overall, like other bear republic beers I've had, this one is lacking on that big kick of flavor. its balanced but the flavors just aren't intense. this isn't a favorite of mine.

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

This is a very good IPA, but given all the excellent American IPAs/APAs on the market, I thought it above average in its style, but not a truly elite beer. I think that Great Divide Titan IPA and Bell's Two Hearted are both significantly better as far as "big," hoppy US IPAs go.

I had this beer on-tap at Roman's in Milwaukee.

It poured a copper/amber color with a fairly abundant head with good staying power (and left nice lacing). Aroma is Cascade/citus hop goodness, but is not overpowering (BTW - I like overpowering Cascade/citrus-ness). Taste is more of the same; assertively citrus-y, but not really powerful flavor. Mouthfeel is good, but not overly sticky. I liked this beer, but with so many wonderful choices in this category, I have a hard time putting it at the top of the stack.

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

650ml bottle.

Appearance: Cloudy orange, with no hint of head forming at all during the first half of the pour, so I poured the rest very aggressively. Formed a small head that rapidly receded to large bubbles around the edges but left good lacing.

Aroma: Very citrusy hop, nothing else. Standard but decent.

Taste: Lots of grapefruit, lots of orange. This gives it lots of flavour, and the orange mellows and smooths the beer. Impressed with this aspect. Bitter hop finish doesn't stay strong as long as you would expect for the style, however. 7% abv is decently camouflaged. Moderately crisp, slight dryness.

Mouthfeel: Well. There is sensible carbonation in this beer, so what was the problem with the head? Also, this beer is refermented in the bottle, so some natural sediment is to be expected... but I unexpectedly got a chunk the size of a raisin. That's a bit much. Otherwise functional.

Drinkability: Maybe I was unlucky with the size of sediment; if that's how this beer is, along with the poor head and retention, they need to print on the label that the beer should be gently agitated first. As it is, I really liked the fruitiness, but found the length of hop finish too short and the appearance and mouthfeel a bit lacking.

Worth a try for the lovely orange and grapefruit flavour, but shake the bottle first.

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Photo of OlRasputin989
3.77/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into Schlafly nonic...

A: clearer than most IPAs, this one is golden in color with tiny bits of sediment under a decent head. Leaves behind small streaks of lacing

S: A strong grapefruit and oarnge hop scent, followed by caramel malt aroma.

T: brown sugar and oranges upfront followed by a grapefruit and bitter grassy flavors

M: a medium full bodied beer with a fizzy yet smooth entry. leavs mouth feeling resiny. also has a slight drying affect

Overall, This beer is definitely "an aggressive styled India Pale Ale", as the bottle describes it. Although it is straightforward, I can't help but desire more complexity in an American IPA.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.76/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on February 26, 2015.

It pours a cloudy pale yellow with a quick white head but little lacing left behind as it fades.

The aroma has this sort of melted caramel or toffee feature along with muted grass and earth. Maybe pear.

Medium to above medium texture.

The taste is both caramel and juicy with a modest lingering hop finish. Balanced.

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Photo of Roke87
3.76/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, chilled and poured into a Duvel tulip

Appearance- Pours a very hazy golden yellow, average pour yields a tiny half a finger of white head that very quickly dissipates to a very small ring that does leave lots of lacing throughout the glass till finish.

Smell- light hop aromas mixed with some pine as well, fruity grapefruit citrus aromas as well and a strong malt smell dominate the aromas.

Taste- Just like the smell this one is not overpowered by the grapefruit and hop although it is much more present in the taste, on the contrary the malts take over this one from the start then give way to a resiny pine flavour mixed with that citrusy hop flavour as well. Finishes kind of sweet and a bit bitter with more of that bready malt flavour in there.

Mouthfeel- Light to medium bodied with below average to almost no carbonation in sight, this is a crisp and easy drinking IPA, and finishes a little dry though.

Overall- To be honest this beer was overhyped a little too much by my go to liquor store guy, I guess I was expecting more from it although it was not bad in anyway at all. There is a big hop presence although not overpowered and equally balanced by a nice malty flavour. I would pick this one up again although I would not go out of my way to get it, happy I tried and didn’t overpay for it but unless it was under $8 a six pack I don’t think I would revisit it, there’s just too many other east coast IPA’s that are miles ahead of this one.

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Photo of Spider889
3.76/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Golden straw colored and crystal clear. Very light head with minimal retention. The lacing was fairly impressive for an IPA.

I found the smell to be a little lack-luster. Not very potent or inviting. What I could get were hop oils and grapefruit rind.

The taste is very crisp and clean. This is a very balanced beer that really showcases the hops. Little to no malt profile though.

The mouthfeel is light and crisp. The beer is well carbonated and delicate enough to allow the hop profile to dominate while leaving no after taste or unwelcome lingering bitterness.

This wound up not being my favorite IPA but the drinkability is pretty good. The beer is light and easy going for 7%. While I might limit myself to 1 or 2 of these in a sitting, I could easily see others drinking much more than that.

Overall I am just not a huge fan of this west coast style of IPA that has very little malt profile. This is a very good beer but I prefer a little more complexity in my IPA.

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Photo of rundocrun
3.76/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a 12-oz bottle. Very thick, loose layer of yeast sediment on the bottom of this bottle-conditioned beer. I unavoidably got a little bit in the glass during the pour but hey, a little yeast never hurt anyone right?

A - Pours a coppery golden color with burnt orange highlights. A finger of white head forms and then fades to a thin layer on the top of the beer. Moderate amount of lacing on the glass as I drink it.

S - Piney, resinous hop aroma is most noticeable with undertones of honey sweetness. Overall, not an extremely pungent beer though.

T - Creamy, malty sweetness up front that's almost honey-like in it's smoothness. The bitterness, piney-ness and citrus peel character of the hops hits hard in the middle and lasts through to the aftertaste. This is unlike any IPA/APA I've ever had, honestly. I've never experienced something so smooth and drinkable (a by-product of the bottle-conditioning) yet still maintaining the über-hoppy presence that one hopes for in this style.

M - Medium body with a juicy, lush finish. As mentioned earlier, this beer has an incredibly smooth, creamy character to it that lends to its drinkability.

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Photo of Ezone024
3.75/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

on tap at gales in petaluma CA. pours a hazy orange color with a 1 finger head..lots of lacing as you go. smells of earthy grapefruit and slight booziness.

the taste is very full it really punches you in the face with your first sip. the maltiness isnt very distinguished but it hits the back of your throat right before the citrus hops take over.tastes like a wide variety of hops were used in making racer 5.

very good west coast IPA a little boozy though. can drink a few but not too many.

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Racer 5 India Pale Ale from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
4.19 out of 5 based on 7,510 ratings.
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