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Racer 5 India Pale Ale | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

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2,293 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: 2,293 | Ratings: 7,514
Photo of plaid75
4.47/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On draft at Hurricane Grill, Syosset, New York.

Poured a suprisingly light copper hue with a one ginger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a strong peppery hop and grainy malt.

The taste was full blown pepper hops with a moderate earthy sweetness.

The mouthfeel was toward the lighter side of the style considering the ABV.

Overall a superior IPA.

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

Racer 5 both smells and looks like a blend of pineapple, tangerine and papaya juice; it has yellow, orange and dark orange colours with a naturally cloudy complexion. Looking into the glass against the light reveals little visibility but plenty of bubbles. Its head is both bubbly and filmy - it looks like a coral reef with waves of lacing washed up against the glass.

As mentioned already, juicy notes of pineapple, tangerine and papaya stand out, but there are also lesser flavours of coconut, pine resin and tree bark. The malts - what little can be made out of them - are like honeyed-toasted biscuits, but their sweetness is no match for the bitter orange peel skin and apricot pits. It is also grassy, like an herbal tea laxative.

The best American IPAs have a candied-citrus taste and plenty of acidic citrus zest - that describes Racer 5 to a tee. This tastes like a fruit salad that combines under-ripe cantaloupe, lychee and papaya fruits, slices of mandarin and is topped with a lemon juice/white grapefruit vinaigrette and garnished with boiled, sweetened orange peel. Very fruity.

Candied, caramelized sweetness balances out a lot of the citric acidity, but doesn't cover up for the sugary, pineapple-tasting sweetness nor the trace of earthy, pungent, pine needle-like notes. This beer has such a resinous finish that no bready maltiness, no matter how supportive and noted it may be, conceals that fact. It's plenty refreshing as result.

I don't think the palm trees are as common when you get as north as Healdsburg, but this thing is tropical enough to serve with an umbrella garnish. That said, it is still a tremendously bitter beer and the combination of the two qualities makes this among the best of American IPAs, as good (and better than many) as any others produced in the Golden State.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.43/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at McGrady's in Bethlehem. Nice seeing this on tap here and Big Bear at the Ho down the street.

A: Translucent, hazy golden amber/orange color with a moderate white head with nice lacing and retention.
S: As expected, citursy (grapefruit), slightly floral, hoppy aroma with malt background present.
T: Very smooth, crisp citrus grapefruit flavor hits first. Slightly sweet but balanced with malt and then the longer it is in the mouth the more the hops dig in. Not overwhelming bitter but hops are very assertive. Very balanced smooth tasting.
M: Full bodied with very smooth, creamy mouthfeel. Moderate carbonation combined with hop bitterness provides a mouthful.
D: Very flavorful, easy drinking, balanced IPA. Right up there with Two Hearted and Blind Pig for me.

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

22 oz. bottle

A: Copper, hazy red with thin sticky white head with good retention.

S: Grapefruit, citric hops, with malt and some tropical fruit, mango and papaya.

T: The tropical fruit shows its stuff, but also brings a more bracing pine bitterness, not overpowering, very balanced, especially for a West Coast IPA.

M: Creamy, full bodied, with almost a chewy bitterness.

D: Very good, a delicious example of the West Coast IPA style, its balanced character makes it a good anytime beer, the alcohol level does not show at all. Another great offering from the fellas at Bear Republic.

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

Pours a hazy copper colored brew.

Smell is malt and hops that tickle your nose. The hops are a mellow citrus smelling variety.

Taste is a well-balanced ale with the hops and malt just about perfectly balanced against one another. The hops give this a dry astringent after taste.

Mouthfeel is quite good.

A very drinkable brew. The label on this reminds me of "Speed Racer." Go Speed Racer Go!

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.59/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: poured four times into my toothbrush holder plastic tumbler (hotel room in San Fran) on 4 Feb 2013.

Pale amber body with an off-white head.

Hoppy, bitter and dry tasting: I'd had it in a sink full of ice while we went out and I thought it got better as it warmed, when cold it had little to no bite from its hoppiness, once a bit warmer the hops really asserted themselves and they came alive.

I'm not a huge 'hop monster' but I thought this was very drinkable in deed.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at the Rogue Public House in San Francisco. A lovely beer that seems to get better with time- or maybe that its really easy to find fresh these days, and this beer is just fantastic fresh. I actually like it better than the Racer X. Pours dark golden with a fine white head that fades to a thin cap and leaves some great lacing. Smells nicely of bitter citrus and pine with just enough malt to keep things balanced. Tastes great when fresh, like this is. Wonderful sappy pine and zingy, bitter citrus, along with some dill herbal notes, and a bracing bitterness throughout. Not watery at all, so there is enough of a malt component to keep the beautiful hops supported. A delicious beer.

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

Lovely dark gold color; not much of a head; faint lacing.

Restrained floral hop aroma.

Classic, balanced tasting IPA, good bitterness, subdued floral, citrus, and pine notes. Decent maltiness behind it all.

Creamy mouthfeel with moderately low carbonation. Very nice. Highly drinkable.

This is a good one; falls short of the hop bomb category; not overtly bitter and has a fairly crisp finish. Really nice, mainstream example of a West Coast IPA.

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

I first reviewed this beer back on 11/7/2009 and gave it a horrendously low 2.78 score, with a very low 2.5 score for flavor. I think I was just not used to funky IPAs at the time, so I decided to give Racer 5 a second shot.

Review updated 4/22/2012. Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: light golden-orange hue with a touch of haze and a thick finger of frothy ivory foam. Good.

Smell: lightly funky aroma with some nice earthy/citrusy hops underneath. Not bad, although a bit lighter than I expected.

Taste: rich, malty flavor with a good earthy hop flavor complemented by a hint of citrus which is very well balanced. Kind of like a strong English IPA, maybe, with a bit more citrus. Quite good.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a bodacious carbonation and a big ol' creaminess I just can't ignore. I like it a lot.

Overall: I am very glad I re-approached this beer. My opinion last time was "this will definitely be a beer I revisit when I've got another hundred or two beers under my belt". Well, I've had on the order of 900 beers since then and I find this beer quite good. This beer doesn't seem a quarter as funky as I made it out to be the first time I reviewed it, so either the recipe has changed or my palate has. I will go with my palate -- at this point, I would gladly quaff Racer 5 regularly.

(Original review)

Poured from 22oz bomber into a pint glass.

Appearance: color is light golden, heading towards straw; head is ivory in hue and two fingers in size. Nice.

Smell: pungent is a good word to use here; hops are very earthy and a little grassy and metallic. The aroma reminds me of day old grass clippings. Perhaps "pungent" is not right; this beer trends far closer to "funky".

Taste: a lot like the smell. I am not sure how I feel about the funkiness factor here. Maybe this earthy, decomposing-plant-matter funk is intentional, but it is starting to grate on me. Either my bottle has a problem or I am not sophisticated enough for this beer.

Mouthfeel: medium body with an appropriate level of carbonation.

Drinkability: the funkiness is getting to be too much. I will definitely finish the bottle; who knows, it might start to grow on me. This will definitely be a beer I revisit when I've got another hundred or two beers under my belt.

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Photo of John_M
4.13/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Frisco's the other day.

The beer pours a light peachy amber color with very good head retention and lacing. The nose includes the typical grapefruit lime aroma, with some sweet malt as well that is not overdone. The flavors on the palate replicate the nose, with the beer having a nice balance of sweet malt and hops. There is good underlying bitterness to this IPA, but your palate is not overwhelmed by it. This IPA is medium bodied and the abv. is remarkably well hidden. So this beer is very drinkable for an IPA, and remains one of my fall back beers if I do not see anything else particularly of interest on a beer menu.

There are so many good IPA's on the market these days that I rarely order Racer V. Nevertheless, this remains one of the better IPA's on the market, and quality is refreshingly consistent. Unfortunately, after having it's stable mate, the Racer X, I just find it difficult to get too excited about Racer V any more. Still, this remains a good quality, solid IPA.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.76/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on February 26, 2015.

It pours a cloudy pale yellow with a quick white head but little lacing left behind as it fades.

The aroma has this sort of melted caramel or toffee feature along with muted grass and earth. Maybe pear.

Medium to above medium texture.

The taste is both caramel and juicy with a modest lingering hop finish. Balanced.

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

Back-to-back with the hop rod rye. The hop flavour in this one is over-the-top! You've gotta be a hop head to enjoy this!

A: Golden-bronze with a fluffy white head; only a little retention, but it leaves a nice lace.

S: Plenty of citrus & pine with a touch of floral hop aroma; a little toffee & candied fruit.

T: Plenty of pine & citrus hop flavour (the Columbus & Cascade provide a well-round hop flavour). Toffee & candy-floss/candied fruit; balanced with an assertive (but pleasant) bitterness. There's a slightly warm dryness to the finish, but the alcohol is really well hidden.

M: Slightly heavier than moderate body is pleasantly creamy & slightly acidic. Moderate carbonation.

D: Great drinkability (for the hop initiated).

Truly an all-round GREAT beer!

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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 dar482
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

The color has a rich orange color and lots of carbonation.

The aroma has a nice juicy citrus, grapefruit and malt sweetness.

The flavor has a hoppy freshness with grapefruit, orange, pine, and then it finish with a bitter dry finish.

The body and malt backbone stand out for this beer. It's very well crafted with its drinkability. The refreshing grapefruit just keeps wanting you to drink more and more.

I'm re-reviewing this because I didn't care for this beer at all. Having this for the second time fresh on tap, this was fantastic.

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Photo of jdhilt
2.96/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a three-finger cream head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Fairly clear amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Grassy/piney hoppy nose. Starts balanced with a hint of sweetness but the hops kick in and dominate, bitter grapefruit finish. Good IPA but I don't like the hops in-your-face which the brewer has done all too well. $4.55 for a 22 oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.78/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hazy, glowing golden orange body, with languous bubbles of fine carbonation. Head it creamy white, leaving amazing lacing. Great looking IPA.

Smell is also great, a beautiful tropical fruit hit - tastes of passionfruit, pineapple, menthol and pawpaw. It's not as overtly powerful as it could be, but it's very nice all the same.

Taste is a resinous bitter character, quite sharp, but clean and fresh, full of character. There's not a huge amount of complexity there, but it's tasty. Strong and robust hop bitterness that resonates through to the back palate. Mouthfeel is a little thin, surprisingly, but the sparkling character matches the hop bite nicely.

This is a pretty decent IPA - it doesn't knock my socks off, but it's solid, drinkable and enjoyable. At least it's a good example of the style.

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Photo of corby112
4.13/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on draft at the brewpub in Healdsburg.

Pours a clear dark golden color with pale yellow hues when held to a light source and a two finger frothy white head with good retention, slowly fading into a lasting ring that leaves sheets of sporadic lacing behind.

Crisp citrus and earthy pine hop aroma with some subtle malt and hints of lemon, grapefruit and biscuit.

Lighter end of medium body with a clean crisp dry hop presence. Light malts provide a nice balanced backbone. Dry piny notes with lemon and grapefruit as well as some subtle biscuit and graham cracker malt. Sweet with a dry lingering finish.

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

From growler to pint glass on 3/21/11
*From notes

A: A good, somewhat cloudy 24k gold. It's got a nice 1.25 finger head, followed by high quality lacing.

S: Pine needles attack the nostrils. If I wasn't aware before, I am now: this is a west coast IPA all the way.

T: A good dose of breadiness hits first, but it's merely a formality as the sweet and citrusy hops overwhelm the palate from the mid to finish.

M: Pretty killer - this one feels like it belongs. Good weight and creaminess that tends to be found in the upper echelon of the style.

O: I've been meaning to review this one for a while, and what better way then a growler!

Bear Republic's Racer 5 is one of the top AIPA's for a reason, and is a cornerstone of the style. I have returned to this time and time again, and will continue to for years to come. This one borders pretty close to perfection.

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

Snagged a bottle of this from Julio's. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a crystal clear super light amber colour with less than a one finger head that faded a bit fast leaving a white cloud and some slight side lacing.

S - Nice oily pine resin here as soon as I opened the bottle. Pine and grapefruit dominate the nose.

T - Just like the nose here. You get that nice west coast hop charactistics with the nice strong pine resin flavours right off the bat followed by some barely there citrus notes. Mostly just bitter pines here with a typical dry finish.

M - Low carbonation here with a pleasantly dry finish.

D - This is a quite nice west coast IPA. everything is really good for this brew. Very drinkable if just slightly one dimensional with just pine being front and center.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.53/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a nice gold color with small thin white head.

S: Nose was floral, citrus and well hopped

T: Taste followed the nose very well. No surprises. Lots of caramel malt, more malts than hops I thought, floral notes mainly with citrus notes.

M: Finished slightly bitter but smooth. The hops blast was late and good.

D: Good

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a clear, bright tangerine orange with a creamy 1 finger macro-bubbly head that was moderately lasting leaving a spotchy lacing. Visible carbonation was medium.

S: a huge sweet pink grapefruity aroma which was smooth and well rounded by nature.

T: sweet/bitter pungent grapefruit that was semi-dry with some dry floral. The hoppiness was very well rounded, grapefruity, and fresh, with a semi-dry floral finish with hints of lemon and sweet citrus, which was incredibly smooth and refined and not at all rough or coarse like others per style. What I really enjoyed was the balance between the bittering/flavor/aroma hopping. The beer had a great strong aroma to start things off. The palate was dominated by the sweet citrusy hop flavor that was very smooth with the bittering hops coming through in the finish, leaving a nice citrusy floral fade on the tongue.

M: medium fullness with a very dry pungent grapefruit and floral hopping and lacing coming through upon warming.

D: Overall great drinkability, even if your not a big hophead. Refreshing, huge citrusy hopping that was very smooth and bitter/sweet, citrusy and dry. Highly recommended.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.05/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a golden orange with an amazing, soapy head that dies slowly in bunches and leaves lace all over the mug. A very large citric burst in the aroma along with hints of dry malts. While it has a huge hop burn for the taste and finishes dry, it is mostly a smooth and citric flavored beer that does dry the tongue a little as it leaves its mark (not that this is a bad thing). Didn't really taste any malts but there must be some in there because this beer's body had a subdued creaminess to it. ABV hidden well and no alcohol burn; I could have another draft of this any day of the week.

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Photo of wl0307
4.42/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The most casual and unrelated-to-beer-like beer label I've ever seen this beer has... Got this bottle by courtesy of another BA based in NY City, Bultrey(Ben), and I couldn't find any best before date or anything like that on the bottle. It's supposed to last for a long time~~I reckon?

Appearance: served in a big tulip-shaped wine glass, it pours a slightly cloudy orange amber hue, coming with an extremely foamy, thick, off-white beer head which lasts quite well. Low carbonation detected.
Smell: extremely heavily hopped--profou...ndly perfumy and floral hops exploding right under my nose, along with aggressively fruity (sweet buttery lemon-cake, ripe peach+plum+apples) aroma...it's powerful yet not overpowering, as the deeply-sweet and grainy flavour of malts sustains well following the hop parade.
Taste: oily-hoppy and richly candyish-malty mouthfeel from the very beginning... a bittersweet nutty plus some grapefruit-zesty taste prevails right afterwards, underlined by a rounded, orange-peel oily flavour sitting firmly at the background, leaving a warmish mouthfeel of fruity hops and lingering but not overly strong bitterness. It's so satisfying and settled that almost no particular alcoholic touch is left behind. The balance b/w malts and hops is good, though for me the mouthfeel is a bit overly sweet.
Drinkability: absolutely an explosive and powerful American IPA for me--a delicious present from Bultrey!

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

(Served in an imperial fluted strange)

A-This beer has a deep golden copper body with the slightest hint of hazy and a creamy white marshmallow head that last and last. The carbonation is lots of tiny little bubbles.

S- The smell of citrus and orange hops has a faint pineapple and grass note. Underneath the juicy hops is a note of lightly sweet toasted malt that really rounds out the aroma.

T- This beer has a sweet creamy malt flavor with a hint of caramel that is quickly wiped of the palette by some big bold green hops. The hops have notes of pineapple with a faint grassy note and some floral hop notes. At the finish there is a faint cola note in the hops and then the hops hang onto every exhale not letting go of their grip.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a creamy texture that makes it feel even more full. No astringency or alcohol noticed.

D- This is a good solid IPA with juicy hops and a good malt backbone. It’s hard to believe this is a 7% abv beer and it has a bit more sweetness than most IPAs. That changes the profile of the hops with is a nice twist.

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

A tumbler glass served at Al's of Hampden.

A: The IPA is an amber orange color, translucent with a small band of head that doesn't lace.

S: The aroma is chocked full of hops, bitter pine primarily. The oily aromas stand out above the malt backbone.

T: Sweet mamma jamma, this is hoppy. Pine is resinous, oily as it coats me mouth. Bitterness is sharp, peppery without the a spicy finish. Underneath the hops, the caramel malts are more than up to the task, balancing out the ale with a bready body. The hops din't stay silenced for long though, returning to leave a sharp flavor on the tongue.

M: A heavily hopped IPA that seems too strong at times. A little more balance never hurts anyone.

D: I limited myself to one glass. It seems a little to boozy to be enjoyed in multiple servings.

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Racer 5 India Pale Ale from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
4.19 out of 5 based on 7,514 ratings.
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