Racer 5 India Pale Ale | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

2,307 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: 2,307 | Ratings: 7,598
3.03/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This was a generous gimme from Beereality...
12 oz. bottle into an Imperial Pint glass.

A short pout produced a creamy, butter colored 1 finger head. Beer pours a hazy, golden straw color. Spotty, dripping lace.

Smells of dusty, piney hops & citrus rind. Nothing special.

The taste is hop forward & a little unbalanced. Spicy & a little sharp on the front. Citrus backgrounds noted in the bitter, dry finish. Alcohol presence throughout.

Lighter bodied with ample carbonation. Crisp & tart with a manageable ABV.

It's taking a little while for me to appreciate IPA's. While not a preferred style, it wasn't too bad & I'm glad I had an opportunity to try it....

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Photo of breyton490
3.06/5  rDev -27%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bought a 12 pack of 12oz bottles in Jan 2011 on the east coast.

Nice hop aroma, similar to what I remember when having this on tap in Heldsberg.

Very clear appearance, nice big rocky head.

Nice bittering, very good IPA, but not very drinkable. Mouth feel was thick and syrupy. Alcohol taste evident.

I don't think I could drink more than one or two bottles in a sitting due to the heavy, sticky, syrup texture of the beer. Prefer the dryer finish found in a Sierra Nevada or Russian River IPA (RR IPA or Blind Pig)

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Photo of grannaniwa
3.06/5  rDev -27%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aroma of spicy, sticky hops. Straight-forward American IPA profile. First taste is deep, earthy, pungent hops. Almost syrupy on the mouthfeel. A little bit of thin sweetness on the backend, and then the aftertaste is hardly hoppy at all compared to the nose and sipping flavor.

Well-made, but comes off as one-dimensional to my tastes.

“This hoppy American IPA is a full bodied beer brewed American pale and crystal malts, and heavily hopped with Chinook, Cascade, Columbus and Centennial.”

Overall: B

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Photo of chocosushi
3.07/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A ~ The definition of toffee with a creamy carbonated, yet lacking head. Looks like an EIPA.

S ~ Heavy tree resins & bark with heavy burnt citrus. Hints of chili pepper spice & malt.

T ~ LOTS of tree resin with a heavy biscuit-malt backbone. Touch of grapefruit & honestly picking up vanilla & cocoa somehow. There's mango, orange peel, & spicy hops, as well. Booze.

M ~ Crisp & bitter, but it seems like it should have a higher ABV for the taste, as it is very "hot." I had to pour out the last 1/4, I just was not feeling the balance on this one. Too Resinous for a non-imperial IPA in my opinion.

D ~ It was poorly toeing the line between hop-bomb & malt balance. Boozy and very spicy, I was turned off but what they were going for with this one. As resinous as a IIPA without the cleverly masked ABV. Wouldn't recommend.

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Photo of juankzas
3.08/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Served in an imperial pint glass from a 22oz bomber. Orangey gold with a clear beige head that dissipates quickly to a creamy froth. Very cloudy, lots of sediment.

S: Just hoppy bitterness, missed some citrus and floral aromas.

T: The same hoppy bitterness, a bit unidimensional, expected a more complex beer.

M: Good carbonation, as said before heavy on the sediments.

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Photo of ChadQuest
3.09/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I have rarely seen a head this chunky. Super Chunk. So much lacing too. intriguing to watch. Very Clear pale golden body.
Aroma is less potent then i suspected, but citrus is the theme coming through the pipeline here. Same thing with the aroma, it's mostly a citrus show, but there is baked biscuit and subtle caramel in here. Wish i had a bottle date. Has good flavors but the amplitude needs to go up a few levels. I can tell this is a good beer, but i'll pass on it until they get me some bottle dating.

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Photo of Tom_Banjo
3.11/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Historically I have not been partial to IPAs. From time to time, however, I will try one to see if my tastes have changed. You see I really would like to like them...they're just so available. Purchased a fresh 12 oz bottle of Racer 5 last night from a local deli. I can tell this is good beer, but it's still not my type. I could see having 1 or 2 of these now and then if I'm not pairing them with food but, after 1 or 2, I would need to switch to something else. And I can't see drinking it with food as I think the beer would overpower whatever I was eating.

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Photo of TAMU99
3.12/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Just can't get really exctited.

Pours a ever-so-slightly hazy dark yellow. Medium head dissipated slowly. Some lacing left on the glass.
Scents of bread, citrus and hops.
Taste is all hops, with a finish of alcohol. The hops aren't bad. Just simple. Like a canvas painted a single bright color. Not ugly, just doesn't hold your attention that long. There is a grapefruit rind taste that lingers on the back and sides of the tongue...because it's an IPA. There is a very slight alcoholic zing with every third sip or so. Mouthfeel is meh. That bitterness lingers a bit too long. Overall - good for a 6-pack. Well brewed, but not my favorite.

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Photo of brewbattles
3.19/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

We did a blind taste test between this beer and 4 others to determine which was a better IPA. The beers that were competing were: Stone IPA, Big Sky IPA, Bear Republic Racer 5, Lagunitas IPA, and Full Sail IPA. Here is the video:


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Photo of ManofWax
3.21/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Given the positive reviews on BA, I was pretty disappointed in this beer. I love Hop Rod Rye, so I thought I'd check out this other Bear Republic Brew.

A: A reddish gold with a buttermilk-colored head, about 2mm thick. Nice complementary colors.

S: Smelled of vegetables initially, before giving way to a portentious suggary quality.

T: I did not taste nearly as much hops in this brew as I expected. It was malt through and through. Hints of corriander (said my tasting mates) and fruits, but just too sweet. Not nearly bitter enough.

M: Goes down smooth as can be. Medium body, could stand to be more carbonated.

D: I can't think of too many situations in which I would want to drink this. Overall, a middling experience. Perhaps I had a bad batch.

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Photo of DrewV
3.22/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

My rating system:
A to A+: An occasional treat. Don't destroy this brew's greatness by drinking it too often.
B to A-: Mid level brew. Good beer to keep around in the standard rotation as a better-than-average brew. Not quite top shelf, but really good.
B- to D+: Okay to drink every once in a while, but not part of a standard rotation. Nothing special, but not offensive.
D and below: Avoid this brew. Not worth drinking more than once, if only to experience the lower end of beer production.

A: Pours a cloudy orangy-gold (due to the sediment) with a half-finger cream colored head. Not much lacing.

S: Some citrusy aromas, traditional grapefruit/mango/etc. A decent enough smell, probably this brew's best characteristic.

T: Bitter grapefruity brew with some other underlying citrus flavors, without the balancing sweetness. One-dimensional flavor profile, but not offensive. Just nothing I would reach for again.

M: Watery mouthfeel, low carbonation. Doesn't refresh the palate.

O: A decent brew, but nothing more. Certainly one-dimensional, with the hops taking the lead from the start and never giving way to the malts. Bitter without being sweet, I didn't find much refreshment here. Oddly, this is slightly "watery", with a faded flavor profile, similar to Bear Republic's Big Bear Black Stout, which was equally unimpressive. I'm being generous giving this a B-.

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Photo of C20Percent
3.24/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

*Review taken from notes*

A: Hazy golden orange with pieces of sediment visible. Poor head retention.

S: A standard citrusy, earthy hoppiness.

T: Hoppy with a poor finish. Much too boozy, IMO. Needs more flavor. Alcohol is just overpowering all other flavors.

M: Heavy body. Syrupy. Not very easy drinking.

O: Average IPA. In comparison, Yards IPA has the same abv, but with a better flavor with a better management of alcohol. I might try this another time just to see if I got an old batch.

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Photo of appenzeller
3.25/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy drk gold with a modest head. Aroma is HOPS and citrus, standard West Coast IPA/DIPA. Taste is the same, this beer is all hops, just a hint of light bready malt underneath. Nothing complex here, if you like hop bombs, this is yet one more beer that'll do the job for you. Occasionally I enjoy that and on those occasions, I'd buy another.

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Photo of apants007
3.25/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

poured form a bottle into a pint glass.

a: clear reddish amber. light head goes away pretty quick.

s: a little orange, some hoppy burn. not much.

t: more of the orange. nice blend of bitterness. tastes nice without leaving too much to think about. kinda like a dirty orange crush.

mf: decent carbonation. thick but not syrupy. again pretty good. not great.

not going to be my beer of choice. not mad at it but not super excited about it either.

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Photo of anvindr
3.25/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

I feel solidly meh about this beer. I saw some people calling it out as better than RRs Blind Pig so i tried them side by side and Blind Pig blew it out of the water in every way. The nose on this thing is underwhelming and a little strange. i couldnt put my finger on what it was. the appearance was cloudy and the taste was pretty middle of the road as far as i am concerned. definitely not a bad beer but nothing special or anywhere near Blind Pig or Union Jack

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.28/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a New Belgium snifter. Pour is cloudy, light amber with a thin, quickly-dissipating head. The nose is very faint for an IPA. I get some lemon, grapefruit, and toast.

The beer is light-bodied for an IPA, yet has a fairly firm mouthfeel. I have no idea how old this bottle is, but there's not much of a hop smack to it. It has little balancing sweetness and little in the way of hops beyond a brief opening bitterness. The finish is rather bland.

An average IPA I won't buy again. There are far too many IPAs out there that are worlds beyond this one. This was my first beer from this respected brewer, but this won't stop me from trying a few others.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.31/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint. No bottling date. Shared with schen9303.

A: Standard pour yields a 1 finger frothy off-white head with great retention. Beer is a clear deep goldenrod. Lacing is spotty and stringy with moderate stick. A good looking beer overall.

S: Nose is caramel, pine, cane sugar, and slight hints of citrus. Moderately aromatic but rather subtle considering the style.

T: Opens honey, cane sugar, and tropical fruit. Lychee, pineapple, and citrus. Sappy and piney hops in the middle though its lost much of its bitterness. Yeasty towards the end and slightly spicy. Resiny hop bitterness finally peaks its head in the end. Bitter, dry aftertaste. This one's not hoppy at all and actually very mellow. Makes me think its not totally fresh but I can't be sure without a bottling date.

M: Light bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth and watery in the mouth with a slight prickle going down. Finish is dry with a dry aftertaste that lingers. Very nice feel here. The perfect combination of carbonation and smoothness.

O: I'm a bit dissapointed by this considering the accolades that it gets... to the point where I question the freshness of the bottle I had. Taste overall was just too mellow with nothing really standing out. Definitely worth another visit in my opinion.




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Photo of alysmith4
3.32/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

All and all, this was an above average American IPA. Nice golden orangey hue, with a thick 2" head. Steady stream of carbonation from the bottom of the glass, as well as a lot of yeast residue in the bottle.

The smell was fresh and toasty.. slightly bitter, but I could definitely detect a fair amount of hops. The taste was a little on the bitter side for me. I expected more hoppiness than bitterness, but unfortunately this was the case.

A good beer, but honestly, I could not tell a bit of a difference between this and the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Worth trying however, when you can find it.

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Photo of SDbrewerJake
3.32/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had hype behind the name. Got a bomber and was let down... Average IPA with a nice balance but if a beer is hyped and I get my hopes up and they are shattered by a par beer... I weap. It had some fruity notes to it with a balance of malt in there... Drank a Stone cail-belgi after and enjoyed that about 3 x more.

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Photo of MonkeymooTJ
3.34/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3


3/4" head with a light orange/amber color. "Cloudy" with medium carbonation.


A very inviting array of perfume, floral, and herbal hops. Citrus came through to a lesser extent.


An initial mild bitterness and citrusy punch quickly gives way to a bitter almost flavorless aftertaste


Slight carbonation. Light and smooth without much crispness. Goes down fairly easy


Overall a decent IPA. It has a great look in the glass and an aroma that really makes you look forward to that first sip. The hoppiness is on the mild side. Fits an IPA style, but lacks a little substance. I prefer really hoppy beers and this one comes up just a bit short for me.

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Photo of Damian
3.34/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Drank on-tap at The Mission Bar & Grille, Boston, MA

Poured a clear, copperish-amber with a small, foamy, white head that faded to a lasting ring of lace.

The aroma was fragrantly hoppy, yet well balanced. Flowery, aromatic hops were met by ripe tropical fruits, citrus and some candy-like sweetness.

The taste however was punchy, one-dimensional and completely unbalanced. Intense cascade hops and hop oils took over from the very start and never let up. The hoppiness was grapefruit-like, piney and resiny. Just when I thought things could not get anymore intense, the hops crescendoed into the puckeringly bitter and slightly dry finish.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied and rather sticky.

All in all, this was a hop monster, pure and simple. While the 7% ABV was rather well hidden, I found my tolerance for the lack of balance and overwhelming bitterness waning from the very start. I really had a difficult time finishing this one. Definitely a beer to be enjoyed only by a true hop head.

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Photo of jimiv73
3.35/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

well this beer falls in the category of least favorites of IPAs!!! i got this on tap @ barneys beanery in santa monica a great place for food too! lots of draft beers too! anyway it poured off an orangey gold yellow color! th esmell was amazing i loved it but then i tasted it and was not impressed! it smell very citrusy and grassy sorta!! i did not enjoy the mouthfeel too much it was a bit nippy and finished bitter!! i givve it a low drinkability because i was barely able to get this one down!! ugh!!

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Photo of MmmIPA
3.35/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Yards/Standard Tap pint glass.

One finger off white head sits atop of a murky orange body with little floaties in there and ample carbonation.Some small patches of lace.

Hop flavor in the nose

The taste is very bitter and does have some malt at the end of the taste.

Mouthful is good and easy to drink.

Some reason makes me think this beer is old cause it doesnt deem a "Outstanding" to me atleast.This sorda taste like aged SN Celebration.That was the first taste that came to my mind.I would like to sample a fresh bottle or try this from a tap.

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Photo of jegross2
3.35/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewing the Racer 5 India Pale Ale from Bear Republic Brewing Company.
Score: 84

2011 vintage bottle pouted in a Duvel glass.

Appearance: Pours a translucent amber color with two and half fingers of white foamy head that slowly settles into a thin foggy layer a few minutes later. Average lacing. 3.5/5

Smell: Fresh citrus and pine. Some tangerine, light apple juice. Some earthy resign. Some floral hops and faint sour notes if you swirl. 3.5/5

Taste: Instantly gives me cotton mouth. That was unexpected, but interesting...Getting apples up front with some orange peel. Surprisingly grassy. Touch of sweet grapefruit. Some sugary-maltiness and bitter hops. Malty and slightly skunky-sweet on the mid-palate before turning dry and bitter in the finish. 3/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, moderate carbonation and a bit creamy for an IPA. Gave me cotton mouth, which was an unexpected twist that made the citrusy-hops bitterness linger well. Finishes very dry and bitter. 4/5

Overall: I do not see the hype behind this beer. Maybe it just was not fresh, as I got mine as part of a make your own mix-a-six at Riley's.

Recommendation: Worth a try, but does not stand out as a worthy sixer-buy. Not too hops-forward, so casual beer drinkers should enjoy. The mouthfeel is very unique.

Pairings: Caramel-toffee candies.

Cost: $4.99 for a 22 oz (bomber) bottle, or $9.99 for a six pack.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
3.36/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 9/12/2007 (bottle):

Pours an amber clear yellow colored body, with a big foamy head w/good lacing. Has a hoppy aroma, sweet, almost grapefruity, citrusy. Has a sour sweet taste, a little too bitter, but the aftertaste is clean. Pretty good for 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 7,598 ratings.
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