Racer 5 India Pale Ale | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

2,313 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,313 | Ratings: 7,622
Photo of objectivemonkey
4.28/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Into a pint glass, pours somewhere between clear and translucent copper, with massive head and fluffy lacing. Has a really herbal earthy hop nose, a little remincent of a barley wine if you ask me, with pine and citrus and grapefruit, not too agressive, just right and quite nice. Taste is the same way, really earthy pine hop, a solid biscut malt base, with that same barley wine kind of hint in the aroma, perhaps from yeast?, with a slight bittering at the end. Either way, Really smooth and delicious mouth. Overall, just a really good beer.

 545 characters

Photo of veggiemafia
3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber split between me and someone else, served in tumbler pints.

First off, this was obviously not the freshest example of this beer as there were HUGE floaties. Seriously, size of my pinky nail. This is not the fault of the beer, but without a DATE of any sort, how was I to know when I picked this up at Bierkraft? Kind of disappointed, really, because I've not seen this in PA before, and people seem to just love it. So who knows if I'll get another chance on this one.

Appearance is good, but for the enormous floaties. Good head, good retention, good color.

Smell is very nice. Piney and resinous, but with good grassy and floral notes in there, too. No real off-flavors, to my surprise.

Taste is similar, but bigger on the piney hop, less on the grassy/floral notes. Good malt balance. A little big on the pine for my taste, but that's a personal issue.

Mouthfeel is good, medium body, medium carbonation.

Drinkability is OK. Don't know how I would've felt after a whole bomber of this.

Disappointing experience, though. DATES ON THE BOTTLES, PEOPLE! PLEASE! There's no excuse not to.

 1,114 characters

Photo of JMD71
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance:Light orangey color with carbonation clinging to sides of the glass. Small bubbly head when poured. Looks very fizzy. Slightly cloudy...

Aroma: Malty caramel aroma with overtones of floral hops. Slightly citrusy & reminiscent of pine needles. Fruity. Not overly bitter smelling. Well balanced in the nose.

Taste: Sweet caramel beginning & middle balances with bittering hops in the finish. Perfectly balanced. Savory, full flavored IPA.

Mouthfeel: Chewy, medium bodied texture. Wonderful crispness & clean throughout. Not cloying at all. Leaves a fresh feeling...

Drinkability: Easy drinking! Very smooth with every sip. Goes down with effortlessly. I could enjoy a few in a row.

Comments: This was a very well balanced IPA. Great malty sweetness & hop finish not overbearing. Excellent!

 813 characters

Photo of hoffman
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Crystal clear pour aside from a distant haze. Perfect pour yields a nice off white head rising and falling to a nice cap on the brew. The color is a light amber/honey with some reds...very nice. The smell is very pronounced, citrus outwieghs the piney hop notes with a background of toasty malts and an almost varnishy, sweet cedar smell, if that makes any sense I do find it quite nice. The hops and toasted malts come together to form the cedar aroma. The taste is pure and clean smooth toasty malts in the beginning, citrus in the middle and both mixed with a subdued hop finish. Nice and well rounded. Somewhat unimpressive compared to the Hop Rod Rye from this brewer. But still a darn fine entry. The mouthfeel is quite nice if not a bit watery, overall it is quite good. Immensly drinkable and easily quaffable. The quasi-high levels of alcohol are masked very well and do not effect the taste but do sneak into the aroma. Try this one if you can.

 954 characters

Photo of Vancer
4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A chill hazed amber brew with a frothy ivory head greeted me upon pouring. Sticky laces – good. Aromas of citrus and grapefruit on top of a general hoppy buzz.

An easy hopped, tame and smooth drinking IPA – just a great brew that’s now over the top. ‘Course, the 7% can sneak up on you, so a bomber or two may just be right for an easy afternoon of quaffing. Well carbonated, just a tad thin.

I likey this one, doesn’t have the floral taste that I really don’t care for in PAs/IPAs.

 496 characters

Photo of WanderingFool
3.87/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Racer 5 pours a slightly hazy straw color with a thin white head on top. The foam dissolves quickly leaving only a few spots of lace behind. A hoppy aroma full of pine floats over the beer.

Each sip of this thin to medium bodied beer is somewhat chewy with a light tingle on the tip of the tongue. The flavor is very hoppy with notes of pine and hints of pepper. A biscuity malt flavor in the background helps to balance out all the hops. Some piney bitterness and a hint of malt remain when the beer is gone.

This is a very tasty beer, but not for those who don't like hops.

 581 characters

Photo of audiojon
2.62/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

This is my second time trying Racer 5, the first being on tap. I remember it tasting better than this, maybe this is one that is better kegged? Smell is tasty enough, very piney, but the taste is off a bit to me. It seems like the alpha acid levels are out of wack with the rest of the beer. The mouthfeel is not right either, not enough carbonation (which could explain the mysterious lack of head too). Overall, I am very disappointed with this, but may give it another try on tap.

editing this review down as I could not even finish the bottle.

 550 characters

Photo of instrumentality
4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Racer 5 IPA poured a light amber-orange color with a nice, one inch fluffy white head that settled to around 1/4 inch while still retaining its fluffiness.

The scent was primarily the typical piney hoppy aroma with a fruitiness somewhere between a pear, a peach, and a pineapple.

The first sip was surprisingly clean, smooth, and flavorful. The piney hops were strong and bitter, but this was undercut by a mild fruit enhancement very similar to the pear-like flavor I recall from the Avery Maharaja IPA, although maybe slightly less tart.

It's not too harsh on the palate, and the bitter aftertaste isn't too intense, which definitely earns it some points over some other IPA's I've tried. I like the bitter, hoppy flavor, but I don't like having it coat my tongue and ruin my taste buds for all other flavors.

As with the Maharaja, I like this added complexity of the pearlike flavor, and as far as fruits go, this could be the best compliment to an IPA, but there's something not quite right about it, like the fruit is ever so slightly overripe. If the fruit aspect tasted just a little bit fresher, I think I'd be sold on the concept, but I think that's just the nature of this style, not the age of the beer.

Of my reviewed IPAs thus far, Stone IPA is still my favorite, and this one ties with the Maharaja (although the numbers may not match) as it's nearly identical as far as I can recall. Some day I'll have to drink the latter two head to head and see if I can better identify the distinction.

Definitely worth the price of admission, all things considered.

 1,590 characters

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

A - Pours a slighty cloudy golden yellow color, nice carbonation, huge foamy head, nice lacing throughout the drink.

S - Scents of hops aplenty, sweet malts, yeast, and citrus.

T - The taste is sweet and bitter. Very nice bite at the finish. The finish is also dry.

M - Medium body. Very nice balanced and slightly carbonated feel.

D - Very drinkable. This is my first BR brew. I've heard great things about Racer 5 and now I know why. This IPA is very tasty, one of the best I've ever had. I'm glad I bought 2 bombers.

 531 characters

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

A winner of an IPA. This was one of the first IPA's my palate decided it liked. Drinking it now, I'm surprised I liked something this bitter and piney. The pour results in a orange body teeming with head. In fact, the head is a tad too robust for me. I like head on my beers, but on an IPA I want an inch or so, not 3 inches. The lacing is masterful, better than anything else I've witnessed recently. If it wasn't for the gushing head, the appearance would rate a 5. Nose is nice and balanced ... lots of caramel malt, and lots of grapefruit and pine. Almost exactly what I want out of an IPA. Taste starts piney, edges into grapefruit, and orange and finishes lemon and caramel. Mouth is massive, carbonation runs rampant, but in an orchestrated fashion, blitzing over the mouth in a mission to please. Mission accomplished.
Certainly a sessionable IPA. I'd be more than glad to do so if I found it in sixers or on tap.

 923 characters

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.04/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I tried this beer at the Yardhouse in Long Beach, served in a pint glass. The appearance was pale orange with no head (maybe due to the bartender's technique).

The smell is overwhelmingly hops, and the flavor is mostly hops but with some malt balancing it slightly. Almost no bitterness in the after-taste, so it was really easy to drink. A very good IPA.

 358 characters

Photo of asabreed
4.48/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into a pint glass.

Appearance: Huge head that keeps building and turning into almost what a Belgian would look like; the carbonation keeps pushing it up, and it's clumping around the middle and bubbling around the edges. Huge amount of bubbles too, as I said. The color is a light golden yellow. Lacing continues to clump and look like a Belgian and the head is indomitable.

Smell: Huge floral and perfume from the hops. Not much citrus or pine, but tons of welcoming sweetness. The sweet malt characteristics are also balanced well. Aromatic and effervescent stuff.

Taste: Awesome balance between the malt and hops. The sweetness from both comes through very well. I get some fruit from the malt and the perfume from the hops. Very nice.

Mouthfeel: Slightly astringent, but the carbonation has settled down from the initial pour. For how sweet it is as an IPA, though, which I'm not used to really, it never becomes cloying.

Drinkability: It seems to be easy enough to make an IPA, but likewise it seems hard to make one that's singular in nature. This brew, however, is pretty awesome for the style. As I said, it's sweeter than most I've had, but for the balance it ends up working well. Still, if you're a hophead as far as the bitterness goes, you may not dig this as much.

 1,304 characters

Photo of tempest
4.31/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap at the Blue Tusk.

Poured into a weizen glass, this beer looks awesome. As I drink it down, its possibly the best look IPA I ever seen, let alone beer I've seen in the past few months. A hazy orange with white head and lacing all the way down the long weizen glass.

Smell and taste, however, are less amazing. Smells and tastes of west coast hops, very cascade like. Piney, citrus, grapefruit together at once. It was a good and balanced flavor, but lacks the complexity that would make this a great beer. Not overly bitter for the sake of being bitter like some IPAs, it earns it bitterness and flavor.

Very good mouthfeel and drinkability. I had no idea this was 7%, felt like any other good IPA. If I had this all night, I might end up on the floor.

 767 characters

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

Brought this back from a mid-March trip to sunny CA. I'm glad that I did, and I'm glad that I will be moving out there soon.

A: Hazy goldenrod body topped with 3+ fingers of rocky, white head. One of the most exciting IPAs to watch. Bubbles zip to the top and the head sticks around forever. As I drink it down, huge waves of lacing cling to the glass. If it doesn't get rinsed immediately, it will take a sandblaster to wash the lacing out of this glass.

S: Muted but fresh hops. Mostly sweet citrus with touches of pine. Sweet malt underneath that provides a background to the hops.

T: Probably the most balanced IPA I have ever had the pleasure of tasting. Seems to be working backwards. Fresh, tasty, bitter hops up front finishing with sweet malt. Bitter (piney) hops in the aftertaste.

M: Carbonation is great. Light feeling, but enough body to give something to taste.

D: Tasty and fun to drink. I'm drinking it a bit too fast because it is so enjoyable.

 977 characters

Photo of VoodooBrew
4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber. Bottling date unknown. It's quite possible that this beer had been at the store since last fall, since I purchased a few others that did have that kind of age on them. But hey, I can't get this where I live so I was willing to risk picking up a past-its-prime beer.

Mostly clear orange-copper with creamy white head. The nose offers clean, fresh citrus, albeit on the light side. Sweet hops jump to the front of the palate, offering juicy, crisp citric flavors. This leads right into a firm and focused bitterness that rides right into a bitter/slightly tart finish. The alcohol begins to stir in the gut, and that sense of well-being begins to set in. Aahhh... Racer 5 is a clean, enjoyable brew with all the credentials of a great West Coast IPA.

As I said, this beer might be on the old side. Not that it's gone bad mind you -- at 7% ABV it has a decent shelf life, but it seems to me that, as good as this beer is, it's likely even better and hop-licious when fresh.

 991 characters

Photo of jhu1995
3.83/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a very pale orange color. Medium, white head, with plenty of lacing as the beer is consumed. Smell was mostly citrus with some peach flavors showing in the background. Taste was similar to the smell. Light to medium body and pretty drinkable. I have a tendency to get bored with hoppy beers after one or two of them, but this one kept my interest long enough that I would grab another.

 392 characters

Photo of soultrain
4.78/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into an Ommegang Chalice.

A-Opaque golden-orange with great "straight line" carbonation. Some chunks of hop/yeast goodness present. 1" white merangue foam on top, excellent lacing: by the finish sides of glass are coated all the way down with thick ropes of lace. Mmmmm.
S-This beer smells fantastic. Citrus/Grapefruit hop lovers dream come true= My dream come true, too.
T-This is my idea of a great California IPA, an orchard of citrus, some pine, some grass, malts there in a hop supporting role, but mostly beautiful let-me-appreciate-this-moment citrus hops. Did I mention citrus? The bitterness in this IPA just rules, and I could make some uneducated guesses to which high I.B.U. west coast hops were involved in making this awsome IPA (Columbus and Cascade?), but no, I think i'd really rather enjoy this beer....sometimes writing a review is more fun that drinking the beer, but with this Bear Republic Gem, that is not the case. This beer is one on the reasons I entered "American IPA" in my profile; it's better than looking at "apparently, none," right? Right. This beer finishes semi-sweet/semi dry, and if that's a peculiar statement, so's the fact that 7% alcohol is nowhere to be found. Christ, I want more...
M-Good mouthfeel. Smooth light/medium body.
D-An IPA lover's wet dream.

CRUX: AWSOME WEST COAST IPA. As Stone Ruination has become impossible to find around here, this has taken it's place in my DBF where it's ALWAYS at hand, and my world is all the richer... With this and their masterpiece "Hop Rod Rye" in their portfolio, Bear Republic is indeed a WORLD CLASS BREWERY. REALLY, REALLY GOOD STUFF: I wish my voice was loud enough to sing their praises. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

 1,720 characters

Photo of sinistrsam
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up this bomber at Once Upon a Vine in Richmond. Poured a clear, amber-gold with some shampagne-like bubbles and a 1 inch head that stuck around my Duvel snifter and left great retention. The aroma was a fairly typical IPA, very piney hops and somewhat citrus-y, honey and some sweet fruits.
The taste was interesting; typically what I expect from these IPAs is a bitter and hoppy which peaks, shocking your taste buds for a split second before fading into a sweeter aftertaste. This had little or not "punch" or "peak", which I have to admit I enjoyed. It did start piney and hoppy, dry and a little bitter, but faded before the punch into a smooth mellow sweetness, possibly some caramel aftertaste. Very smooth, excellent transition, and I have a feeling it is a bit more complex than I'm explaining here. Very good taste in general.
The feel was bitter and dry at first, fading into a sweet smoothness as stated above. Not much carbonation.
I thought this was highly drinkable. A little higher ABV but I polished off this whole bomber and wanted more. This is my first Big Bear brew, and I sure hope its not my last.

 1,129 characters

Photo of haroldp
4.79/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer has an ugly label. But don't be fooled, it hides a really fantastic beer. Yum. Smells great, tastes better.

Two hundred and fifty characters eh? Ok, um, dark amber, sort of like, beerish, color. Tastes like IPA. Great burp taste too. Do not discount that.

 268 characters

Photo of doubleipa
3.5/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up while on business in Maryland. Fair amount of hops in th earoma, but not a whole lot. Has a different hoppiness that most other IPAs, in my view, even though there is a lot of grapefruit present. Head disappears quickly.at recedes fairly quickly. Carbonation is good. Can't say that I would want to pick another of these up.

 339 characters

Photo of bignick
4.59/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Publick House in Brookline 4/20/06. Served in a pint glass.

This is a huge kick-in-the-mouth American IPA. The smell incredibly pungent; the stong citrusy hop scent foreshadows what's to come. The taste of hops really nails the palate, and it is uncompromised in its dryness. This is one hell of a west-coast IPA, and has long been one of my favorites.

 369 characters

Photo of neonbrown82
3.65/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a decent IPA, but not something I would want to drink alot of. The hops kind of have that crushed aspirin flavor. Good in small doses, but not refreshing, which is a quality I tend to look for in an IPA.

The beer pours to a clear golden blonde color with a wispy white head that recedes fairly quickly. Carbonation is good. Lacing is alright as well.

The smell is good. Lots of grapefruity hops. Not much else. Sweet and malty. The taste is syrupy and grapefruity with a big crushed aspirin amarillo flavor. Doesn't seem to be too bitter, just very sweet and citric. Would probably be bitter with a little less malt (and thus a lower ABV). This formula seems to do well for them, however. Whatever.

The body is fairly light, but it has a sticky, syrupy hop flavor that dries out somethin' fierce. Not something I'll be drinking again, unless it's just a small sample.

 884 characters

Photo of Shultzerdugen
4.55/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. brown bomber with no date I could find.

Clear light copper in color with a white clinging big bubbled froth that laces and rings down the glass.

Pine, pancakes, pineapple, grapefruit, and caramel notes in the nose.

Medium bodied, initially crushed velvet smooth, the mouthfeel turns oily and slick with a blasting grapefruit taste as it develops. Resinous pine sap, herbal notes, and candy sweetness show as it warms. A cracker-like malt backbone plus the sugary sweetness hold up well to the hop onslaught.

Although I favor the Amarillo/Warrior hop flavors, it's hard to beat the tried and true C-hop flavors for AIPA's. One of my favorite examples of the style.

 682 characters

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

A - Redish gold color slightly hazy. Ample head sticks around & leaves light crystal lacing.

S - Pine, fresh garden veggies and hints of juniper. A little scent of malt sweetness sneaks by as well.

T - Soft piney hop bitterness attacks the tip of the tongue with spreading out across its breadth. The malt fights through briefly and futiley before being crushed by a bitter hop finish.

M - Light body, smooth carbonation, nearly mouth puckering bitterness.

D - Amazingly drinkable considering the ABV & IBUs. Like this brew in a 22 oz bottle, but nearly amazing on tap.

 583 characters

Photo of OStrungT
4.11/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a light golden yellow. The head is light yellow. It fades slowly, leaving many lac es.

This beer has a grassy aroma. It smells slightly piney. It has a little cirtus to it, but not much else. None of the aroma is too strong.

This beer tastes a lot like it smells. Grassy, with a slight pine flavor. The citrus flavor makes a slight apperence.

This beer is crisp and refreshing. It goes dowm smooth, leaving a grassy hop aftertaste. It is carbonated well.

I think this beer would be a good session beer. It is not overbearing. It is just slightly high in alcohol, so that wouldnt be too much of a problem. I will have this one again.

 660 characters

Racer 5 India Pale Ale from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
4.19 out of 5 based on 7,622 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.