Café Racer 15 | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

212 Reviews
Café Racer 15Café Racer 15

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

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.75%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Café Racer 15™ features aromas of bright citrus and resinous pine from the generous use of Citra, Amarillo, Cascade and Chinook hops which are complimented by a dry malt finish. The result is a high revving Double IPA that is loud and assertive, much like the rebellious street racers who inspired it. Never ride alone...

Added by womencantsail on 02-12-2011

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 212 | Ratings: 1,230
Photo of metter98
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy yellowish amber in color and has no visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down a bit, leaving lots of lacing on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of citrusy hops—oranges in particular—stand out in particular along with hints of pine resin hops.
T: The taste has flavors of pale malts along with notes of grapefruit and pine resin hops.
M: It feels medium-bodied and slightly crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer seems to be maltier compared to other Imperial IPAs but has an interesting mix of hops that lend some. complexity to the smell and taste. It is rather drinkable considering the strength as the alcohol is well masked from the taste.

 799 characters

Photo of rodlavers
3.82/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

22oz. bottle, poured into a snifter. Date on bottle "appears" to be 03/05/13, although I am unable to confirm that because the "03" is very much smudged out, leaving what is only the top/right side of a "3" or an "8." I am hoping for the latter, but presume the former based on appearance, smell, taste, etc.

Despite the sediment that I saw floating around in the bottle, this beer does look outstanding. It is hazy, but I do not mind that, plus the color is rather inviting for a double IPA; burnt creamsicle orange/yellow, with a nice fluffy white head, some decent, fine, lacing. Again, it's fairly opaque/hazy.

The smell is what made me believe it's a March bottle. The hops are not terribly faded, but the malt is way more present than I'd expect. I do not find the aromas off-putting, just not as hoppy as I would expect. Still, it's sweet and caramely.

The taste is very similar, providing further evidence that this is a March beer. Sweet and malty, with a caramel candy taste to it.

Feel has not suffered terribly; it's smooth and syrupy; not as bitter or biting as expected.

Overall, is it unfair to judge what I expected to be a very good beer unfairly because it was bottled over six months ago? Is this beer expected to change that much over the period of six months? I do not know the answers to those questions, but I did enjoy this beer, even if it was "old." That said, it was the floaties that gave away the bottling date. Cheers.

 1,455 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.83/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Cafe Racer 15 on tap at the BR brewpub in Healdsburg CA.

Good head. Slight haze. Medium amber. Some sticky lacing.

Aroma is hoppy with a hint of honey.

Citrus and pine hop mix is pronounced but tamed, especially re bitterness, by the malts. Easy drinking for a DIPA.

 271 characters

Photo of JayQue
3.84/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy orangey color with a medium size, slightly off white head. Head retention is average, some thick lacing on the glass.

Strong aroma of citrus hops..mostly grapefruit and oranges. Flavor is more balanced. There are citrus and piney hops flavors but also a balancing caramel malt/bready malt backbone. Hops are more noticeable but the malty blance is still there.

Mouthfeel is very good. A somewhat oily piney hops presence along with an overall crisp, bitter feel. The malty balance is noticible here too...not just a hop bomb but a well constructed hoppy beer.

Another good one from Bear Republic.

 612 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.84/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: An impressive arrival, with a fluffy white head perched atop the clear amber liquid; a curtain of lacing is left behind

Smell: West Coast aromatics, with grapefruit and pineapple dominant

Taste: Big sweet candy malt flavors are joined, right at the outset, by the grapefruit and pineapple elements; there is also a bit of passion fruit, bringing a tropical aspect; big and sticky, after the swallow, though the bitterness dominates

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; sticky mouthfeel

Overall: Fans of sticky DIPAs will like this one, but I prefer more attenuated examples of the style

 623 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
3.87/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a finger of thick, foamy head on a hazy, straw colored body. Looks great.
The aroma is bright lemon, pineapple and grapefruit. Really good.
The taste starts with bold pine bitterness, sweetens out towards the middle and then finishes with a lemon bitter downslope.
The texture is crisp with moderate carbonation.
The taste has great balance.

 348 characters

Photo of Rutager
3.87/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance. Pours a clear, rich amber-gold with a finger of thick off-white head.

Smell. Piney floral hops with a little citrus and some sweet caramel malts.

Taste. Big piney, floral hops with some bitter citrus rinds and a fairly sweet caramel malt base.

Mouthfeel. Medium body, medium+ carbonation.

Overall. A nice big ipa, but I wish I tried this before the hop venom, probably would have rated it higher...

 417 characters

Photo of srandycarter
3.89/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pretty nice, typical IPA offering. Clear golden, nice near white head, leaves fast. Lots of spotty lace. Smell of malt and hops, of course. Taste is more hops driven but does not forget the malt. Good carb, good balance, fairly clean finish. I would have another.

 263 characters

Photo of inlimbo77
3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

64oz growler
Filled, 4/25/13. Drank, 5/2/13

A: Pours our clear bright orange color. Layer of bright white. Fades to nothing pretty quickly. Doesn't leave a ton of lacing. Still good carbonation though, tiny bubbles coming up from the bottom.

S: Nice nose here. Some tropical fruits: Mango, Papaya and Apricot. There is some sweet slightly bready malt behind it too. Sort of smells like Russian River IPAs, but not quite as good.

T: Creamy hop bitterness on tip of tongue. Fruitiness. Lots of mango and papaya. There are some malts that shine through in the mid palate. The flavor on this is good, but the nose is better. A mild let down. Dry finish with lingering bitterness.

M: Medium bodied.

 697 characters

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.91/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours a hazy golden orange with a white finger's worth of head. Fair retention, giving way to a broken layer of surface suds. Decent lacing with fair stick.

Smell - Heavy citrus. Grapefruit pith and orange juice. Light notes of pine resin. Hints of pineapple and white bread.

Taste - Pure citrus juice bomb. Grapefruit character is most abundant upfront, along with lesser notes of orange. Faint pine develops mid-taste and peaks near the finish. Malts add some generic sweetness, and help give the beer it's sweet juicy character. Lingering citrus pith in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Full in body with a light syrupy texture and low to moderate carbonation. Goes down easy enough before a dry finish.

Overall - This is pretty good. Pretty, pretty good. Something about it just doesn't quite reach me the way it should, though. Maybe I've had too many DIPA's that are too similar. Maybe it's needing an extra layer of complexity. Probably a bit of both. Solid brew regardless.

 989 characters

Photo of Larsam123
3.92/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From a 750ml bottle. Sampled on December 27, 2013.

Appearance - cloudy orange/gold with bits of yeast floating around in the bottle. A bit of yeast haze in the glass. Some lacing, low head retention.

Smell - Floral elements as it is opens. Definite apricot as it warms up. Less nose than I was expecting.

Taste - Malty backbone and bitterness you expect from this style. Not too dry.

Overall - Good IIPA. Wish there was a little more on the nose.

 450 characters

Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.93/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from tap into tulip at glass half full in sterling va. Golden orange with thick white head and lots of sticky lacing. Huge piney grapefruit aromas with a big malt backbone. Flavors of sweet sugary malt and if course pine and citrus hops. Hop presance is massive. I usually don't enjoy west coast style ipas as much as most but this is nice...must be the Amarillo hops. Its a bit heavy and the abv is obvious.
Nice brew. What I'd expect from a west coast ipa.

 466 characters

Photo of PicoPapa
3.93/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Pours a murky amber color with a 1/2 inch of head. The aroma is tangerines, pine, light grapefruit, and orange. Large amount of lacing. The taste is piney hops upfront followed by some honey, toasted malts, tangerine, and grapefruit rind. Tangerine and orane peel near the end. Piney hop finish. Mild alcohol burn. Mouthfeel is creamy and slightly oily. Piney, bitter and a bit on the boozey side, this is a solid Imperial IPA. Overall, given the chance I would buy this one again.

 494 characters

Photo of Sideswipe
3.94/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler picked up at the brewpub today.

A- Hazy dark golden to orange color. Three finger white head recedes leaving nice lacing.

S- Big floral, citrus and pine notes. Orange blossom dominates, with pineapple and mango playing second fiddle. Smells downright juicy!

T- Initial piney bitterness is followed up by orange zest and a pleasant sugar cookie malt presence. Huge juicy citrus charactertisics dominate mid palate. Finish is medium dry with a nice lingering bitter aftertaste.

M- Feel is medium bodied, leaning toward thicker, with a pine resiny viscosity that works in the beer's favor. Carbonation is medium to low, imparting a creamy quality.

O- This is a very nice offering from Bear Republic. ABV is very well masked by the citrusy, piney flavors which make Cafe Racer 15 a joy to imbibe. Really enjoying this one. Recommended.

 849 characters

Photo of LAp
3.94/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A solid, malty DIPA. The first maltier Double I've had in a while that's worked so well. Pours an orange-yellow. Nose is equal parts malt and hop, and the palate follows the nose. Not earth-shattering, but certainly a well-made beer.

 237 characters

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber pours a mostly clear gold color with an ample cap of off-white head. Nice retention and lace.

Nose is tropical goodness we have come to expect from mosaic and amarillo. Malt pretty much gets out of the way and leaves a hint of grains and the yeast is uber-neutral. WCIPA fo sho.

Taste throws down on a multitude of hop flavors ranging from peach to papaya to orange flesh. A lot of different dank flavors here, like chewing on a good nug. Doesnt quite all come together harmoniously for me though and the high ABV unbalances it a little. Its good, maybe close to damn good, but I dont think Id buy it again. There are other BR beers I would rather have and this one just seems a bit too over the top.

 715 characters

Photo of Brad007
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bright and golden with a one-finger head. Uses Citra, Amarillo, Cascade and Chinook hops for flavor and bittering.

Lots of resinous pine upfront with only a touch of grapefruit.

Flavor is full of grapefruit and pine notes.

Lingering grapefruit and pine resin make up the mouthfeel. Burns going down. Definitely sipping material.

Who needs orange juice for breakfast when you can have this?

 395 characters

Photo of Pencible
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: This poured a hazy gold with moderate white head.
S: It smelled like citrus zest and sweet sugary malt, with some biscuit and oranges.
T: It tasted like bitter grapefruit and citrus zest, with sweet sugary malt and some biscuit. It had a clean bittersweet aftertaste.
M: It was watery with some carbonation. Ok body.
D: This was a decent double IPA, but probably already past its prime. The scent and taste were more sweet than bitter, and the body was a little weak. The finish was smooth enough, with well hidden alcohol, so it was pretty easy to drink. Really good, but not top tier.

 589 characters

Photo of Duane_Opfer
3.96/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Rich amber with a light head.

S - Peach/apricot hints.

T - Although a West Coast DIPA, my taste buds told me it was an East Coast DIPA. The malty sweetness was upfront with hints of peach and apricot. Average hoppiness for a DIPA. Initially, I tasted slight citrus hints, but tasted more citrus as it warmed.

M - Very nice. Appropriately carbonated with a nice texture.

O - I expected a West Coast IPA and received an East Coast DIPA, comparable with Dogfish Head 90 Min IPA. I prefer the bitterness of West Coast DIPA and this beer present malty sweetness. Good, but will not purchase again.

 601 characters

Photo of OmahaKF
3.97/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Smell is dank pine, citrus (more with grapefruit), and malt sweetness. Taste is heavily citrus with floral undertones, pine resin, and orange Jell-O. Finish is fairly bitter with just a hint but not overwhelming underlying booziness. Overall, I thought it was closer to a triple IPA in characteristics than a double IPA, but a very nice west coast style IPA.

 361 characters

Photo of Chickenhawk9932
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep orange with an off white head. Good lacing and retention.

Smells largely of citrus - orange and grapefruit. Also has mangoe and tangerine. Nice long sweet nose.

Taste similar to racer 5, nice sweet orange and mangoe with bitter orange and grapefruit. This one has a thicker syrupy middle. A nice biscuity malt background is slightly detected. A very solid DIPA.

 377 characters

Photo of CNoj012
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a very cloudy dark orange with a two finger off white head. Retention is good and there are many webs of lacing. Smell is dank pine, citrus and floral. Taste is the same, but very balanced from a heavy dose of malt. Feel is medium and and resinous. Overall a very solid beer, just a touch too malty for me.

 322 characters

Photo of MDDMD
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A-pale orange amber color with a nice off-white head and good lacing

S-citrus, tropical fruit, malt, pine, little boozy

T-toasted bread, caramel, tropical fruit, grapefruit, pine, hint of toffee, moderate bitter finish

F-medium to full body, moderate carbonation, a little cloying, but smooth, little boozy

O-a decent DIPA, but a little to sweet for my taste and a little on the heavy and boozy side

 403 characters

Photo of abaer123
3.99/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Overall I like the Cafe Racer 15. I was surprised to see that it is 9.75% abv as it does not taste like it, yet, perhaps I have become accustomed to strong ales!

A - cloudy golden color with promise of deliciousness

S - pine, citrus, what you would expect from an IPA

T - delicious. not overly hoppy, yet satisfying, alcohol does not seem to be an inhibitor here.

M - well rounded and satisfying.

I would consider this among my favorite beers. Those being.... :)
Pliny the Elder, Heady Topper, Rampant, Double Jack, Hoptimum, Hop Stoopid, and Sculpin.

 556 characters

Photo of BMMillsy
3.99/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle dated August 5, 2013 poured October 21, 2013. These guys need to get the distribution down here to FL quicker. Pours a slightly hazy orange color with a small white head. Big floral grapefruit aroma with strong caramel malts in the background. Flavor follows with very floral citrus on the palate backed by sweet candy like malts. The aromatic flavor (is that a thing) keeps this from being overly sweet. BIG slick mouthfeel on this with medium prickly carbonation. Would like to see how this is fresh as this was definitely past the hop prime. Still drank nicely.

 571 characters

Café Racer 15 from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
4.18 out of 5 based on 1,230 ratings.
  • About Us

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

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

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

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