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Racer 5 India Pale Ale | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

2,281 Reviews
Racer 5 India Pale AleRacer 5 India Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Bear Republic Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

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: 2,281 | Ratings: 7,454
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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Photo of shalowlou
4.62/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This brew is simply beautiful. A great appearance really can make a beer so much more appetizing.

Smell: I just love the smell, it's like being in a citrus garden. The hops: zest, grapefruit. The maltiness: orange and dare I say lemon?
Delicious and appetizing.

Taste: Its like Ruination but not on steroids. I don't really enjoy the double IPA style (aka Ruination) This has the perfect balance, I'm not scared of hops, and I can appreciate them, and this brew really helps. It's hoppy, yet balanced, and the flavors just strike the palate. Orange, lemon, grapefruit, and the hops are oh so yummy. This is really a must try for those that really want to taste what balanced is all about.

Mouthfeel: Its really the prefect balance of thickness and brew. It’s not too thick. But it really is filling.

Drinkability: Hey, I got the 22 oz. Bomber, and I like it, but it’s going to be a while before it’s gone. I'm having this with a nice fried lunch including tempura and vegetarian buffalo chicken wings. Let me tell you that this is heaven on earth. Like I mentioned before, it really does taste like Ruination but much more balanced in my opinion, the drinkability is heightened therefore in that balance.

Conclusion: Very very tasty, have it with a fried lunch like a fish and chips or a plate of calamari. Issss so good!

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

Decent deep golden color. Nice tight white head and very nice lacing on down. Very nice aroma. Big, wet, hoppy smell. Nice sweet malt in the backround. Big hop flavor up front. Very grassy and citrusy. Good mellow malt sweetness in the finsh. Oily and velvety body. An extremely drinkable brew. My first taste from this brewery looking forward to more.

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Photo of Beaver13
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle. Pours a hazy golden-orange with lots of tiny yeast floaties. It has a decent frothy and creamy white head that leaves some nice lacing.

The aroma is piney, fruity, floral hops. A little doughy malt comes out as it warms.

The flavor is sweet fruity caramel malts followed by big bitter hoppiness and a strong lingering bitter aftertaste. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and fairly creamy.

Overall a very fine IPA that is nicely balanced.

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

Pours a nice golden-copper color with a very nice huge head with lots of lace. Very pleasant.

Aroma is out of this world (and that's from a non-hop lover). Sharp hot spiciness, but a floral variety that isn't overly oily and like you are chewing on a pine branch.

Flavor follows through and is very enjoyable. It's all about the hops (what a surprise) and so this one doesn't go much further than that, but who cares?

One of the better IPAs that I've enjoyed...

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Photo of Naerhu
4.97/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Orange-gold body with amazing white lacing.
Aroma: Orange, pepper and tangerine aroma.
Taste: Orange rinds, light malt and everlasting polite bitterness. The light malt stands aside to allow the hops to shine, however the bitterness does not overwhelm.
Mouthfeel: Great balance, the nice acidity makes this beer quite refreshing.
Drinkability: This is a beer from heaven, give me more and more every day. The beer is very easy drinking (even my Mom who thinks beer is ‘horrid’ liked this).

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

22oz. Bomber: This one pours a hazy, slightly orangish color. There is a fairly strong white head that leaves some lacing down the glass. The aroma is a mix of grapefuit and pine hops. The taste is actually a touch sweet before the hops kick in. They are strong without being overpowering. A really decent beer!

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Photo of mntlover
4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a orange color with a big fluffy off white head that leaves gobs of lace. Love bottle condition beers, like stuff floating in my glass know it might not be proper for some folks but I like it.
Aroma is citrusy mixed with some pine big on west coast hops the way we like them grapefruit and orange peel with a couple of pine cones thrown in for good measure.
Taste is good sweet malty to start then some tart grapefruit peel takes over adding citrus rind flavors that mix with the yeast to add a earthy like flavor in my glass to make a nice tasting IPA that finishes with a bitterness milder then the smell. Overall very nice could use a little more bitterness but still not bad.
Mouthfeel is close to medium nice amount of carbonation aides this fine IPA.
Drinkability is good a nice drinkable IPA from a good brewery can't wait to try their double.

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

Pours a clear medium gold with some yeast floaties, with one finger of white head with good retention and some slight dimples.

The aroma is all sharp grapefruit rind, big and bad and swaggering.

A quintessential west-coast IPA, the taste is predominantly cirtus hops, with a respectable but not extreme bitterness. I can feel a hint of caramel sweetness after a grapefruit-hop burp, but the malt feels mostly crisp, and maybe slightly grassy. Not exactly balanced, but not overwhelming. Excellent hop flavor without heavy bitterness.

The mouthfeel is light, crisp, and clean, especially for a 7.0% brew. This makes for dangerously easy drinking.

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

Bought in a 22 oz bomber, first time I had seen this beer in Salem.
What a beautiful looking beer. Really hazy dark orange with a fantastic thick,frothy, pure white head..lovelly.
Very "piney" aroma,quite fresh and enjoyable
Very very nice hoppy West coats IPA, very much bitter lemon tasting, not so much "grapefruit",below there is some semblance of malts, but this is a hop monster.
Very nice and invigorating on the tongue, refreshing to the taste buds.
Very nice IPA on of the best in my estimation..will buy again..soon!

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Photo of altctrlsdelete
4.92/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5


Finished my session with one of these tonight. Not billed as an IPA, which has led me away from this beer in the past. An IPA this beer unquestionably is.

Lots and lots of hops in the nose, with lots and lots of lacing left behind to remind me of just how flavorful and thick this beer is. Not something for those who don't appreciate the beauty and power of the hop, and thus something made specially for me.

My only complaint about this beer is that I've not tried it before. From now on, when this is on the menu and there's nothing new that jumps out at me, I won't have to spend 5 minutes deciding what I want to try.

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Photo of sweethome
3.88/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle. Pour- a nice golden color, with plenty of hops floating throughout! I grassy nose with a hint of bready malts. A medium mouthfeel, not quite as full as I would expect for a 7% beer. The hops kick right away. A nice british maltiness is in back, but this is all about the lush hop flavor and bittering. Alcohol is present and provides a warming feel. The hops really build. It feels chewy after about half a glass. Break out the lawn mower, there is grass on my tongue! This not just a cascade-laden IPA.

I wasn't overly impressed on the nose or first few sips, but this beer really grew on me as the hops build and entice for another taste. The alcohol presents well too.

Go speed racer, go!

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Photo of Troyone
4.63/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One pint six oz. bottle, poured a true copper color with a three inch head and some carbonation action, clear at first until I reached the bottom then the clearness turned into haze and then hop (minute) flakes.
Smells rich in hops with a sweet malt background.
The taste is unique with hops that has some tea background notes and sweet malt that is crisp with carbonation. The aftertaste does not linger in fact disappears however the hop notes still linger from the mouth.
The mouthfeel is not too syrupy with an even mix of carbonation that is more evident with the aftertaste.
The drinkability is excellent and maybe a session beer until the seven percent is too much before the not too syrupy taste.

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Photo of Globetrotter
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Scored this bomber at the Whole Foods Market in Arlington, VA. Colorful presentation, but not much usable info on the bottle.

Pours a hazy copper gold under a 2.5 finger white head, thick and long-lived. The lacing in the first glass was a bit thin, but ample upon second pour. Lots of citrus and pine greet the nose - yum! The mouth is very prickly and medium-bodied. The taste presents a race, with distinct sweet citrus and malt contending wiht the pine and espresso bitter. Nicely balanced, this one is smooth and subdued, at least compared to some other IPAs. The finish is mild, almost fruity, but the race isn't over yet. The true dry espresso-grinds experience comes through in the aftertaste, leaving a delicious bitterness (and the one enjoying it) as the ultimate winner. Very interesting brew.

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Racer 5 India Pale Ale from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 2,281 ratings.
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