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Racer 5 India Pale Ale | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

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2,294 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
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Reviews: 2,294 | Ratings: 7,530
Photo of RBorsato
4.13/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear golden with a nice full off-white light tan head, nice carbonation, and nice lace. Big pine hop aroma and flavors. Nice hoppiness without being overly bitter; seems nicer than the XP Pale Ale; Good balance. Medium bodied and fairly smooth with a bitter hop finish; maybe a touch airy.

Worth trying and good but not my favorite ... a possible repurchase.

Per Label: Bottle Conditioned.

Per BR website: American grains. Two Pacific Northwest hops, Columbus and Cascade. Columbus is used mostly for bittering, but used heavily as an aromatic in this strong brew. Cascade is the balance that ties the malt and bittering hops together.
1999 GABF - Gold.
og 1.070, ABV 7.0%, IBU 69.

Per B.A.B. book: 5.9%ABV (wrong). Columbus hops adn dry-hopped with Cascade (wrong?)

($3.99 / 22 oz.)

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Photo of scooter231
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This IPA pours a very pretty slightly reddish golden color. No floaties of any kind- clear, with a lot of head at first that fizzles down and leaves some lacing around the glass. Very pretty.

Smells citrusy, mostly orange and lemon, and piney. A hint of sweetness as well. Earthy. Also some spicyness in here, black pepper. Tastes citrusy, slightly bitter, and definitely hoppy. Sort of a biscuity flavor and feel. Mouthfeel is very chewy, some bubbles, mealy- very, very nice. Drinkable- I'd say so. I could have a few of these, no problem. Tasty and refreshing. God bless IPAs.

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

Slighty hazy orange colour with a generous, fluffy head. Good retention and lacing. Toasted, malty aroma with mostly pine and some citrus hop character that is more on the orange side. Also just a bit spicy. Excellent balance with plenty of bitterness balanced by bready, biscuity malts. Hop flavour is strong pine, citrus, and spice, without being over the top. Sweetness backs off towards the end, which lets the resinous bitterness come forward, along with more orange hop flavour, and a bit of alcohol warming appear. Finishes off-dry. Body is a little on the heavy side, moderate carbonation. Bottle conditioning seems to contribute to the creamy smooth texture, which improves even more as it warms. Very nice...

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Photo of gentlebubbles
3.85/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at Redbone's

Light toast color served with just a bit of white on top.

Faint sweet scent.

Some bready malt dominated by snappy lemony bitter bite, that develops a suggestion of fruit.

Light-bodied and easy to drink, a nice, straight-forward IPA that really grows on you. Yum

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Photo of kmo1030
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

golden orange amber color with a thin sticky white head. piney herbal and grassy hops dominate the aroma. some grapefruit comes out as it warms. the smell is a little subdued, i don't really pick up anything else. while the aroma doesn't have a lot of grapefruit to it the taste does. the other grassy hebal aspects take a backseat to the grapefruit now, to combine with some really nice piney hops and a light honey-like sweetness that balances things out a little. medium body with subtle carbonation that lends to a nice smoothness that these type of beers are sometimes lacking. good drinkability, i had no trouble finishing the bomber and could easliy finish another with out it getting tiresome. an excellent example of a west coast IPA. highly recomended.

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Photo of blitz134
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Clean and transparent light copper body with a two finger white head which reduced down to a lump looking mass.

A nice typical IPA aroma with hints of grapefruit and pine. A good bit of sweet malt as well. This IPA tastes really good. Its flavor covers the three basic hop flavors: citrus with hints of grapefruit, pine, and a finish of bitter resin. This is all balanced with a slightly sweet malt which makes this brew really balanced. Hop bitterness is good as well and stronger than most IPAs. Nicely crafted and true to the style although a touch more bitter than most.

Mouthfeel is a touch thin but still coats well enough to provide lingering time for tasting. If this was a bit heavier this would be right on par with what I woudl expect. Drikability is really what this beer is about and some of that could be due to the lighter mouthfeel in my opinion. No problems will be encountered finishing this bomber off.

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

Pours an amberish orange with a touch of cloudiness. A nice fluffy head sits on top with a decent lacing on the way down.

The smell is quite wonderful. Typical of a west coast IPA, you have the strong cascade aroma, pine, grapefruit, citrus, floral, with just a dash of passionfruit.

Once again, this is definitely in the West Coast IPA family. I have always found this group to have more juiciness and citric flavors and this is no exception. While it is in the company of great west coast IPAs, it is unique. A crisp bitterness carries a bit of spice which is balanced by a biscuity malt all the way through. While still on the hopped the hell out end of the spectrum, it is well balanced and the finish is lingering.

Highly drinkable. Had a bomber on a hot day and it went down like candy. I was begging for more. Another great west coast brew. Perfect for sessions or whatever. Super versatile, flavorful, Racer 5 is always a good choice. If you are begging for more hops, Racer X is your answer.

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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 baiser
4.6/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Let me start by saying: I love Bear Republic beers. They make top notch west coast style ales, that are packed with flavour over and over. This one is no different. Excellent IPA. Pours extremely hazy, amber orange colour, with a large, fluffy white head that lasts the entire time. Great lacing. An explosion of hop aromas. Pine, citrus, toasted malt. Juicy, oily, and well full of cascade hops. Somewhat balanced. Excellent beer.

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Photo of twelvsies
4.53/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I can't believe I hadn't picked this one up yet... I got obsessed with their Hop Rod Rye and really overlooked this one. Glad I finally decided to try it. A near perfect beer. Appears a cloudy yellow amber color with a dense head that lasts until the very end, leaving nice rings of white lacing on the glass. Smells quite hoppy, a mix of grapefruity pine and citrus. The taste is actually perfectly balanced, a must for a truly great IPA, though the hops come get you first. As the smell suggested, piney and citrusy, which sounds pretty typical and we've all seen those words in just about every review of an IPA, but there's a bit more to this one. Nice lemmon and orange peel zest, and a bit of dry dustiness. The deliverance of this beer is key as well; perfectly smooth mouthfeel, nice and dry yet thirst-quenchingly refreshing. I wish this beer came in sixers or growlers, because I could easily pound a half gallon of this delicious nectar. You might call this the "De Ranke XX of America", but this beer stands strong by itself as a unique west coast IPA.

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

Racer 5 pours a slightly cloudy amber, with a good sized white head. It has a big aroma of citrus (namely grapefruit and lemon) and pine. The mouthfeel is lively but, a little too thin. This brew is pretty hoppy, not quite as hoppy as it could be, but it has a nice malty backbone. I could easily drink a gallon of this stuff.

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

Pours a beauty hazy orange with a foamy antique white head. Nice lacing on the glass. Nose is pine needles and citrus rind. Taste is hops right from the get-go, yet not harsh. There is more of the pine taste, some balancing sweetness, but oh so faint. Mouthfeel is thin to medium, with a long hoppy finish. Tasty IPA and easy to consume. Recommended.

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

05/23/05- Had on tap at the Englander in Dublin, CA

Presentation- Via the tap into a standard pint glass.

Appearance- Darker golden color approaching an amber color. Smaller head by the time it arrived at my table. Nice lacing rounds it off.

Smell- Definite hops presence. More fruity than anything. Definte malt as well though.

Taste- For some reason I get more of a malt taste whenever I have this brew. I do get the hops as well, but to me it's a well rounded brew that leans towards a pale ale.

Mouthfeel- Good carbonation level.

Drinkability- Classic example of a good session brew. Wish they came in 6 packs rather than bombers.

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Photo of weeare138
4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to sckressler for this one.
Appears a golden amber with a fluffy off white head. Some sediment and yeast falls to the bottom. Plenty of medium carbonation and lacing to be seen.
Smell is of floraly hops with some wood notes and solid malt. Gets much better as it warms up towards room temp.
Taste is a see-saw of hops and malt. Drink it and you'll see exactly what I mean. Very floral hops with some malt packed in there.
Mouthfeel is light, florally, with a powdered sugar type feeling rolling around in the mouth. Brew gets more complex towards the bottom of the glass but it's still highly enjoyable.

Finger licking good.

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Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
4.85/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sampled this from a 22oz bomber.
Pours out a clear amber-orange color with an extremely sticky white head that left rings of lace all over the glass. The aroma is filled with citrusy hops and screams huge hop additions. The taste is packed with a great hop start but smoothes out over the tongue wonderfully with a perfect balance of bitterness. The semi-high ABV in this is well hidden but makes a presence letting you know that it is there very sublte in the finish. The smoothness of this beer is incredible for having so much hop flavor. The intense hops in an IPA that are normally too much for malt-lovers, is so well balanced, that this is a perfect beer for those who want to explore the world of the hop-heads. I personally can not get enough hops, and this one (not being a IIPA) is just phenomenal. As far as the IPA style goes, I have yet to find one that is as well crafted as this.

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Photo of studentofbeer
4.19/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

great smelling beer--hops full of pine and acidic citrus like grapefruit, orange and lemon combined with sweet marmalade. also some vanilla.

look is eh--honey orange, a bit cloudy with a white head that sticks around pretty well. lots of big bubbles, but also good lacing.

oh man, full of citric hop flavor. Unlike some beers where the malt strike first and then the hops hit, this one seems to start with immense lemon and orange hop resin flavor and then moves into a sweet orangey marmalade malt flavor, finishing with a dry bitter peel and then dropping off. rich and well integrated, with that nice resinous coating feeling in the mouth.

feels like it could be a bit more carbonated, and the finish drops away a bit too fast to be perfectly brilliant. But those two qualities make this beer quite drinkable despite its bitterness and strength. Overall an excellent IPA.

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Photo of ChrisBowers
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Now this is what an IPA should be. Hoppy but balanced, slightly creamy, a bit malty, and just plain refreshing. An immensely pleasurable beer to drink, especially on tap. Pours with a thick rocky head, nice lacing. Smells slightly sweet, floral. Taste is slightly sweet caramel malt up front, lots of hops, well balanced, crisp hop finish. Slightly creamy mouthfeel. A great IPA, not quite a double IPA, but close.

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Photo of beerceller99
4.72/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

05-05-05 = Racer 5? Why not.
Has a pale amber color with a thick , frothy head leaving a nice lace.
Awesome, strong smell of resinous acidic pine sap and perfumy hops.
Medium full body with a full mouthfeel.
Nice caramel malt taste up front with a medium strong hop bitterness which lasts the entire drink.
Tastes like a double IPA but more drinkable at 7 % abv.
One of the best IPA's out there, only rivaled by Diamond Knots gem in my book.

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Photo of whartontallboy
4.51/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Huge white rocky head. Two fingers of it. Slow to dissipate, and when it does, it leaves a huge amount of lace.

Nose is subdued with some citric hop scent, but also a very prominent baked bread malt presence.

Flavor is incredibly thick; sweet malt with a huge citric/pine hop flavor on top of it. There's a real fresh-orange flavor that's quite juicy. Sweet piney finish. I can't do this flavor justice.

I'm quite taken with this; I think it's overtaken my top IPA spot. The hops are huge, but the malt is really creamy and strong enough to balance it out.

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

Package: 1 pint, 6 oz. (22oz.) crowned, brown bomber. Brightly colored label instantly calls to mind a favored childhood cartoon, “Speed Racer.” (Yes, I’ve bought the DVD’s). A shadowy checkered flag backs the red and yellow letters spelling out “Racer 5.” Label describes this as an “...aggressive styled India Pale Ale.” Also specifically marked as “bottle-conditioned.” No date, but this was from a new shipment. 7% ABV.

Cost: $3.49 at Finger Lakes Beverage

Presentation: Shaker pint glass at ~45º (as recommended on label).

Appearance: As noted by so many others, this is a lovely IPA, with a burnished amber body a bit darker than most IPA’s and a voluminous (2-3 finger), dry, barely off-white head which reached a self-sustaining ¾” layer. Very interesting body, which seemed to fall somewhere between Hop Wallop and Two-Hearted Ale. It exhibited fine brown flecks in a colloidal suspension much like Hop Wallop (though the particles were much finer) and a light, luminous haze that was a touch less conspicuous than Two-Hearted.

Smell: Freshly hoppy with a pillow of rich malt, promising nice flavor balance. Still, a touch sharper from the bottle than from draught. I find that most IPA’s fall into two categories: the harsh, medicinal ones, and the floral, fruity ones. Thankfully, this is one of the latter. BR’s website tells me that this is hopped with Columbus and Cascade. Well, whatever it is, the hops palette plays beautifully off the malts.

Taste: The first thought that comes to mind is of balance. The bright hops are followed as closely by the sweet malts as Racer X followed Speed (or Schumacher followed Alonso last weekend at Imola). One of the rare beers that lives up to its hype. The finish is medium-to-long with a caramel sweetness that softens the aggressive hops. There was the slightest touch of medicinal sourness that I’ve only noticed in bottles and not the draught.

Mouthfeel: Almost approaches a double IPA in its sensation of heft and viscosity (a characteristic I like), which prevents the hops from becoming too brittle. The very fine carbonation is excellent, providing an almost draught-like consistency.

Drinkability: Comes close to defining drinkability, despite its relatively high ABV. Joins draught Masala Mama and Celebration, Brutal Bitter (at least the earliest versions I’ve had), and Two Hearted (again the better earlier version) at the top of the IPA pyramid for me.

Backwash: After the disappointing Bear Republic XP, it was nice to confirm my draught experience of Racer 5 with a very good bottle sample. I understand that this has reached the East Coast for the most part (except New Jersey). All of my purchases were either from The Chapter House (draught) or Finger Lakes Beverage (bottles) in Ithaca.

NB: The bottles all exhibited a slight medicinal hint, not present on draught. Score the draught ~0.25 higher overall.

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

22 ounce bomber. This beer has a light copper color with a big, creamy white head. Be carefull not to pour this beer too hard, or the head will get out of control. Aromatic hop aroma, with just a bit of malt. The flavor is huge, caramel sweet at first with a load of hops. You could call this a double ipa. A little spicy in the finish. Medium to full mouthfeel. There is a nice alcoholic bite. Good west coast ipa.

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

I have had this one on numerous occasions...most memorable on tap at the Publick House...this one is a bomber thanks to Downtown.
Pours a golden color with a full finger of off-white head....lacing is thin, but very clingy.
The smell is very enjoyable...fruity hops (oranges, grapefruit, and zesty lemons).
Taste is one of my favorites for an IPA...sweetness is just enough to offer delightful flavors of carmelized malts and piney hops. The carbonation is perfect...just enough to overcome any sweetness this brew has to offer. The mouthfeel is not thin or too syrupy...a very clean aftertaste allowing me to cruise through this bomber. Oh yeah, this is one hell of a session brew!

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Photo of paulyrimz
3.98/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Light golden-amber body color with thick layer of foamy head. Consistant lacing that was prevalent down to the last sip. Had this on draft at Hollingshead.

Aroma: Pleasant citrusy hop aroma. Hint of grapefruit among citrusy hops. Nice malt aromas, balance out this IPA nicely.

Taste: Citrus Hoppiness throughout, what I have to come think of as the default of IPA taste. Nothing surprising, but nonetheless delicious and consistant.

Mouthfeel: Good hop and malt balance. Medium light carbonation, could have used a bit more. Maybe it's just personal, but I think it could have used a more robust mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Very drinkable, smooth, goes down easy.

Notes: Solid, well balanced IPA, comparable to Craftsmen's IPA, which has a slightly better balance and mouthfeel.

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

This beer is one of those big IPA's that has balance and class by the truckload. Like Smuttynose or Stone this is the Ivy league of the style; in your face with a pedigree. I had 3 of Bear Republic beers in a tasting with Malto and all of them were highly impressive. Complex and powerful with a sense that the brewer has the chops.

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Photo of RedwoodGeorge
4.22/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Brew pours a dark golden color with a sticky off-white head. Unfortunately the head falls down pretty quickly and leaves hardly any lacing along the sides of the glass.

The smell is full of hop aromas - pine and grapefruit being the primary notes but there are touches of floral and herbal in there as well. There's a distinct (and pleasant) fresh bread note in there to keep this from being an 'all hops' experience...

Taste perfectly follows scent - this is one of those brews where you know what you're getting before it touches your tongue. A respectable malt taste to keep things honest but the preponderance is pretty much hops, hops and hops. It's a good mix of grassy and citrus notes and will please any West Coast hop lover. (Or, for that matter, any East Coast imbiber who loves West Coast hops ;-)

The mouthfeel was a bit oily - the bubbles were on the large side and while it left a nice hoppy finish, the tongue felt coated. I'd have preferred a slightly lighter body to this one but it's not a deal breaker.

Overall a very nice representative of a West Coast IPA.

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Racer 5 India Pale Ale from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
4.19 out of 5 based on 7,530 ratings.
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