Racer 5 India Pale Ale | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

7,679 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

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,679 |  Reviews: 2,328
Photo of MaxKalata
4.4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of bosco7
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Light copper color with slight chill haze (which clears quickly). Very nice sticky head. Lacing like a Belgian.

S- Grapefruit rind,bubblegum, slight malty carmel notes, and biscuit.

T- Starts sweet with biscuity/ caramely flavors, some pepper, with a hint of vanilla, moves into a juicy citrus taste and ends with a clean bitterness.

M- Very silky, this is the best quality that this beer has (oats in the grain bill?). Perfectly carbonated.

D- I could drink a couple in a sitting.

It's smooth texture and pleasant hop character make this a very unique and tasty Pacific IPA. By far my favorite Bear Republic offering which is saying a lot.

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Photo of andrewvent
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of tapman
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thin head after moderate pour with decent lacing. Color is very clear with a light orange hue on the skinny bottom of my flute/nonic glass and deepens in color as the glass spreads out towards the top. Looks very appetiving and potentialy sweet, though we'll see.

After a vigorous swirl the nose comes back a myriad bouquet of American grassy, spicy hops mixed with a fruity, bready hop of the English variety. With this, an American IPA I'm inclined to think that the hop profile is all American with a great malt balance and sans English hops, but I'm not ruling out some EKG or something like that. Malt indeed smells quite sweet with a warm and aggressive, though not too fusel, alcohol sting.

Very smooth on the palate. Just enough sugar in beer to sit and linger briefly on the palate before blending the sweet, sweet fruit of the bittering hops. Then comes some more sugar and the flavor come through grassy, resionous, and sticky in the finish. BIG HOP FLAVOR in the end. I would almost be inclinded to think that the largest addition of hops to this brew were at the 20 of the boil, or the relative flavoring point for this recipe. Bravo on the big and complex hop experience.

Right amount of malts to not only balance the hops, but to give this brew a full body without crossing over into syrup country. Strong yet refreshing.

If the alcohol taste wasn't as big this beer would be more drinkable, but it wouldn't be as good if you ask me. I rate drinkability based on can you session the thinkg pared with the criteria for the style. For example, I could just about session some Chimay Blue or some Kwak even though they are relatively large beers. This one almost gets it, but the alcohol finish makes this just shy of sessionable, though by all means a fantastic IPA. Bought to go eat some salmon with this brew. Here I go...mmph... delicious. Would definately reccomend this brew with some seafood. Enjoy!

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Photo of Mchinea
4.4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of srandycarter
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My Halloween party keg.

A -Nice bright mostly clear golden amber, 1 inch near white head. Reduces fast to ring. Lacing a little sticky and a little sudsy.

S - Mostly pine and some citrus Hops slam in first, malt is evident as well.

T - Definite focused malt center, with hops squashing all, leaving pretty neutral finish.

M - Balanced, coating, kegerator is carbed perfectly.

D - I hope everyone wants to drink this all night. I think I will!

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Photo of Fortheloveofgod
4.4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of olafphysics
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of beebs22
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of chuckd123
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Excellent IPA. Poured from a 12oz bottle, color is a dark, cloudy amber. Nice finger and a half head with good lacing.

Smell is very aromatic, kind of a floral, citrusy aroma. Malt is very faint, and flowery amoma is what you get first.

Taste is excellent - powerful, bold and very hoppy. Could pass for a double IPA easily, though alcohol is not overly present. Very complex, full flavor, not often seen outside of d-ipa's.

Mouthfeel is very good -- very light and smooth on the tongue, encourages you to drink more.

Drinkability -- excellent. Tastes much lighter and smoother than the dark cloudy appearance would suggest. I could get lost in several of these.

Some of my absolute favorite beers are double or imperial IPA's, and this is right up there in terms of flavor, hoppiness & taste.

Excellent, and worth a try (or several).

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Photo of awalk1227
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed 11/8/10 Yay for a bomber of this stuff!

Poured into a Firestone Walker pint glass

A: Pours a clear, pale orange with a pretty finger of white head.

S: Fresh hops, pine, grapefruit, a hint of orange juice. Some caramel malty sweetness comes out as it warms.

T: Alcohol very well hidden here. The slightly caramel-sweet malt backbone is there to be just enough support, and then the pine and citrus blend together beautifully. The finish is both bitter and fruity, something I don't come across often with IPAs. The synergy between citrus hops, pine bitterness, and malt is great!

F: Medium, nice and full coating. Just chewy enough. Great body that keeps me sipping.

D: A big IPA for sure, and I could do a few of these in a night. I saw some sixers of this, I may pick one up to take home for Thanksgiving break in my craft brew deprived hometown.

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Photo of mattalive
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Very impressed with racer 5 ipa. Not being a huge ipa guy i thought i'd finally give it a go. Sure glad i did! Appearance had me thinking i made the right decision right from the start nice reddish-brrown hue with an and above average malty head. Good aroma and tasted even better, excellent drinkability with every mouthful, definitely shoots right into my top five faves!!!

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Photo of CharlesRiver
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22oz standard brown bomber. Pours out a bit cloudy. Light amber in color with an orange tinge. Small head that doesn't last.

Smell is lighter than I expected but I do pick up some grassy hops in the background. Some malt hints as well. Very lightly carbonated.

Much more balanced and integrated than I expected. Lovely, consistant hops notes throughout. The aftertaste has something spritzy that I can't identify. Seems to last for 10-15 seconds.

The light balance makes this extremely drinkable. No way of telling this is 7% abv. If you like balanced, drinkable IPA's, this is for you. Well done.

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Photo of sammorito
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Jadjunk
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

"Racer 5 is an aggressive styled India Pale Ale. Handmade from a brewery whose motto is "Bigger is Better". This golden, well hopped, bottle-conditioned ale demands your attention. Try the next generation of I.P.A. Racer 5...Go..Go.."

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a tulip. Served north of 54º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a pale golden eggshell white head of a whipped creamy consistency over a golden amber body. There is moderate accelerated carbonation and medium flecked sediment for a subtle haze. Retention is good, lacing is thin and drooped, spotty in places. Overall it's a pretty solid-looking IPA. 4.5

(Smell) Aromas of big citrus and floral hops. Orange peel, lemon pith and lesser grapefruit forward, great values of hop aroma as well as perceivable bitterness. Malt body is pale with a very clean caramel, providing a mellow sweetness to pair. The balance is very bright, very few perceivable imperfections and alcohol is well tucked away. Potency is medium/high. It's a really fantastic smelling IPA, great big happy hop notes that are definitive for a west-coast style IPA. 4.5

(Taste) Malt profile gives a bit more notice to the flavor, with a very clean, modestly sweet caramel pinch. There's very little toasting of the grain, clean and to-the point but the sweetness comes through more in the flavor. The strength of the hops tones down a note or two in the flavor, a little less citrus brightness but a remaining big flavor, with a more refined citrus and floral balance, still lots of juicy full hop flavors. Very clean, incredibly drinkable and with a welcome humble bitterness that pairs ideally with the spot-on flavors of this IPA. Nothing is over the top here. It may not be the most in-your-face showcase of west coast hop flavor and bitterness, but this does a great job at balancing the flavors and promoting drinkability. There's no question to whether I'm going to be able to finish this bomber by myself as this is an incredibly quaffable beer. 4.5

(Mouthfeel) Texture is slick, clean and smooth with a very faintly dry finish. Carbonation adds a bit of froth and creaminess to the texture, nothing stings the tongue here. Body is medium for an India Pale Ale, just shy of medium overall. Alcohol profile is low. There may be some scoffers at Bear Republic for not going the spritely and sharp carbonation route, as it may have enhanced the citrus somewhat, but the enjoyment lies in the balance of this beer. 4

(Overall) Apart from competing west-coast IPAs this beer has some unique qualities that make it stand out. I draw attention mostly to the use of a simple, yet flavorful clean caramel malt build, a smooth, quaffable texture against other IPAs and a great balance of hop flavor and bitterness that amicably showcases the juiciness of these flavorful citrus and subtle floral hop notes. A deserving champion amongst thousands of India Pale Ale contenders, and a beer that I don't regret picking out from California. I do, in fact regret grabbing only one. 4.25

Bear Republic Brewing Company's
Racer 5 India Pale Ale

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Photo of AlexJ
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks Mickey for this trade.

This Racer pours out a perfectly clear honey amber color, producing a fluffy 2 finger head of light beige that has a rocky top and leaves swirling rings of lace in my pint glass. Halfway through the beer there is still about 1/8 inch of head, nice.

As I inhale deeply, aromas of medium caramel malts and pine drenched citrus peel rise to greet me. A gentle swirl releases more of the bouquet, crushed pine needles gobbed on to fresh baked honey-wheat bread. The aroma is very nice on this one, but you really have to stick your nose in the glass to get it.

A sip reveals a very hoppy IPA highlighting pine needles and fruity citrus marmalaid hops with just enough caramel malt sweetness to carry it through to the long and tongue searingly hoppy finish.

Body is solidly medium with medium bubbles of carbonation and a slick, oily, hop-juicey mouthfeel. Perfect for sitting on the porch watching an afternoon thunderstorm and ensuing downpour, as I am now.

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Photo of melagnus
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

So a quick background on the tasting atmosphere and parameters at the time, since this might have affected my overall view, though doubtful.

Though I have tasted this beer many times before in the bottle and on-tap, this evening started off with a sampling of the beer when it was poured from a keg that was "on it's way out." The beer was served in a cooled glass and at probably around 35˚F, so there was no doubt some chill haze prevalent.

The second and compared to tasting, was via a freshly tapped keg that was delivered a couple of days prior, therefore I have brought both of these observations into my review.

A - Pale Amber (SRM 9-10) liquid poured into a tall 22 oz. Weißbier-style glass results in a slightly opaque hue that on top forms a thick & foamy white head. The head (2 ½ fingers-thick) seems resinous and leaves behind a tantalizing lacing as the volume recedes, though this occurs very slowly as the head retention is quite impressive! The pour was done in the traditional American-form, which is to pour the beer on the side of the glass at a 45˚ angle until half-full. Carbonic-bubbles escalate to the top, thereby helping to suspend the head. The combination of the cooled glass and chilled beer made for some chill hazing, though this of course disappeared with warmth.

Note: Second sampling came via a non-chilled 22 oz. Weißbier-style glass and both samples were allowed to warm up to at-or-near proper temps before tasting!

S - Columbus and Cascadian hops plume deep into the nasal cavity, with clean & sweet Pale Ale malt undertones vying for recognition. Alcoholic esters can be sense, though the resinous and floral hops mask this nicely.

Note: Second tasting produced a more fresh floral bouquet of hops that did the first!

T - Cool and refreshing! Slightly grainy substance washes over the palate, while sweet malts coat the palate, leaving a bitter (medium-high hops) crescendo that lingers smoothly for a while thereafter. Possibly a tad nutty, though unsure on this.

Note: Second sampling resulted in a more sweet malty flavor in the foreground, though resinous hops still dominate.

M - Slightly warming at the end (7% ABV), this mouth coating and grainy beer washes over the palate nicely with medium body and an appropriately out of balance bitterness. Sweetness, possibly caramel, does play into the equation though.

C - This beer truly never gets old! Each time I try it I am amazed at how timeless it is. Harpoon IPA, Stone IPA, Standing Stone Brewery (Ashland, OR), Mayflower IPA, Dogfish Head 60 and Lagunitas IPA all brew their own incredible interpretations of the style, though despite other scholarly opinions, I must conclude that I still lean towards this being my all-time favorite IPA. There's just something magical about the mixture of ingredients in this brew and the freshness in the bouquet no doubt plays into this fantasy. Bring me a juicy burger and some sweet potato fries and oh yeah Bartender, "I'll have another!"


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Photo of scuttlebutt21
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of rajendra82
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Many thanks to BA TexIndy for this bomber of Racer 5 from our recent trade. The pour was clear pale, and the head atop was large and retained well, as is typically the case with IPAs. The smell was quite strongly hoppy for a single IPA. The alluring smell of grapefruit and apricot just begged me to take the first sip. As I did it, a spicy and generously bitter taste tingled my tongue as the ample carbonation amplified it. Following this was the malt, but it was not candy sweet like some other beers of this strength, but more caramelized, drippy, and soft. The aftertaste was salty and citric. The hop oils coated every part of the tongue after each swallow, leaving a long drawn out tingly aftertaste. Mouthfeel was medium full and quenching. One of the most pleasing beers to drink if you are ever drawn towards hops like I am. All I can say is the following:

I pledge allegiance to the checkered flag of Racer 5 and to the Bear Republic for which it stands, one brewer underdog, independent, with deliciousness and hops for all.

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Photo of mcsquint
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz brown bomber into pint glass:
A - Golden amber and crystal clear. Beautiful slightly off-white head leaves spotty lacing on glass.
S - Grapefruit citrus and pine followed by grassy and a bit of malt.
T - Gold malt, piney and citrusy hops. Yeasty. A bit of a bite on the finish. Somewhat metallic aftertaste.
M - Light to medium. A bit slick at first but finishes remarkably dry and crisp.
D - Definitely a full flavor brew. 7% ABV gives it some kick. I could drink a couple of these....at least!

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Photo of KarmicSkrambl8
4.39/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of PatDreadful
4.39/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a Victory Tulip.

Appearance: A light brown/dark orange hazy body throws up a huge tight head that is sticky as all get out.

Smell: This is firmly a West Coast IPA. Lemon zest, grapefruit and candied orange dominate the nose. This is exactly what I was hoping for! I do detect a bit of the malt but my nose refuses to let go of those beautiful citrus notes.

Taste: Bright! The lemon smacks you across the mouth and opens you up for some wonderful pink grapefruit notes. There are hints of some earthier hops but they are never fully realized. The malt backbone makes a cameo before that oily bitterness creeps up on you. I have never had an IPA where the bitterness actually "creeps". Very nice!

Mouthfeel: The body is light and higly carbed. The result is a nice and refreshing pint.

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Photo of Maaargo
4.39/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of wingnutter
4.39/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured a beautiful cloudy golden color, with a head that just kept climbling and climbing up the glass until I had to suck some of it back to avoid spillage. What the hell is in the water in No Cal?!?!?!?! Crazy retention. I think I could float a quarter on top of this head. Wow. Nice lacing, too.

Taste is nothing short of fantastic. Excellent hop profile with a malt backbone to match. What a nicely balanced beer! Uber hoppy with just enough malt to keep the hops from breaking out of the gates and becoming out of control. Floral, piney, citrusy....Hop heaven.

This may be the best IPA Ive had the pleasure of drinking. I wish I could get this stuff down here in Florida. I'd always have some on hand. Two thumbs WAY UP. A fantastic IPA from a great brewery.

Excellent drinkability - I could drink this one all the way from the starting gun to the finish line!! Gentleman, start your tastebuds and buckle up, cause Racer 5 takes you on one hell of a ride!!!


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Photo of cmcquirk
4.39/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Racer 5 India Pale Ale from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
4.19 out of 5 based on 7,679 ratings.
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