Black Racer | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

very good
531 Ratings
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Black RacerBlack Racer

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

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.10%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Black Racer™ blends Bear Republic's love of hops with the Pacific Northwest's appreciation for dark ales. Our pit crew brews this award winning ale which boldly defines a new frontier of flavors and always maintains pole position. Race to the Dark Side™.

Bronze 2011 Great American Beer Festival American-Style Black Ale
Gold 2012 World Beer Cup American-Style Black Ale

Added by avaldivia on 07-27-2011

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 531 |  Reviews: 107
Photo of fearfactory
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of Amerikon
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of blackcloud
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours near black that turns a deep, dark, brilliant ruby when held up to light. The head is light tan and a finger in thickness with good retention. Strong lacing with great stick.

Smell - A strong mix of roasted malt and a citrus/pine hop character. Light cocoa notes. Traces of smoke.

Taste - Fair balance of light roast coffee and bittersweet citrus. Orange pith. touches of toffee and pine. While both the roasted malt and the hoppy citrus play prominent roles, I feel both come across as fairly bland; moreso the malt side, especially at warmer temps. The flavor struggles to find a real identity. It's delicious, but not ideal.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Semi-dry finish.

Overall - It seems this is a style that will promise forever, and never deliver. I'm always looking for that strong hop punch combined with a solid, well developed roasted malt backbone. I've yet to find it, and frankly I don't know that I ever will. I don't know that it's possible for those two extremes to cohabitate in the same beer. This one had the right balance, but missed the ideal strength of either end. It's not bad, but it's fairly muddled. I don't know that I'd give this one another go.

 1,223 characters

Photo of cwelsh55
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

(on tap at Monk's Kettle, SF)

A: dark brown hue....voluminous, sudsy-loose head, lots o lace

S: toasted cookie, sweetish roasted grains, and refreshing herbal/piney hops

T: bittersweet treacle-ish and a mellow bitter/spicy, citrus hop flavor.... tasty residual malt sweetness - leans more toward a rich malt flavor than most black IPAs.... mild-moderate floral-alcohol finish/aftertaste

M: remarkably clean after all.... attacks the palate initially with a semi-sharp hop bitterness, but washes out with a mildly-dextrinous residual finish

O: as far as "American Black Ale"s go, this is one of the more enjoyable I've had... much more malt-forward (which I love) but with more than enough hops to balance yet not go overboard

 730 characters

Photo of Roberto11232
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of StubFaceJoe
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of Proclarush
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of scottfrie
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into SN ipa glass.

A: Pours a dark cola brown with a large three finger, rocky, light tan head that took forever to fade into thick chunky film leaving streaks of sticky lace down glass.
S: In your face bright hoppiness. I get pine, grapefruit pith and slight mint.
T: Follows the nose, super fresh and bitter pine, leafy grass and citrus with a minty finish. Aftertaste sweet with fruit nectar and a tiny bit of deep dark roasted grain.
M: Medium body, clean, bitter, slick and oily mouthfeel, soft even carbonation. Drinks well.
O: One of the best most hop forward black ipas I've had. Could hardly tell this wasn't a normal dipa.

 645 characters

Photo of Beerswag
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of DrDemento456
4.06/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Not a bad price $7.99 for the bomber from Halftime beverage.

A - Well it's pitch black that's for sure with a 1/2 inch of fairly deep mocha head. If I didn't know any better I would think this is a stout.
S - Citrus and tropical hop sweetness mixed with some mild roasts and some cocoa poweder. It doesn't smell too roasty which is a surprise.
T - Balanced is the best way to describe it. Some citrus and piney hops, somewhat resinous clinging to the palate after each sip with a mild bit of chalky yeasts and a touch of roast. If anything I would say it could use more roast balance and give it more complexity but it's kind of good the way it is.
M -Smooth, hides the ABV well, a very well crafted Black IPA.

Overall it's a shame this is a limited thing it's a very smooth IPA with some roasty compliment taste. Nothing offense, or light about it just a damn good beer.

 873 characters

Photo of ArrogantB
3.16/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bottle $6.99? Dark brown that is almost black but not quite. Aroma of dark malts, bit of citrus. Flavor is more dark malts and slight bit of orange, hops, meh. This sort of reminds me of the collaboration they did with Stone. I honestly expect more considering this is themed like Racer 5. Racer 5 is much better.

 318 characters

Photo of BeerNW
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of SkeeterBoganski
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of InfernoBoss
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of Mike099
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.67/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650ml bottle purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. I take it this is either new, or is seasonal in a season I've never been in California before, because I can't believe I've not had it otherwise.

Pours a deep dark nondescript colour somewhere between brown and black, with tinges of ruby at the edges. Head is wonderful: fine, mild and creamy in colour, pocked with bubbles that give it a liveliness. Body looks pretty tame for 8.1% ABV: quite light and very fast moving. We'll see how it holds up.

Nose is lively at first, with a strong, pungent citrus aroma permeating everything. This settles down once it's been swirled a bit, with the volatiles dematerialising quickly. There's still a dusky orange character, backed up with some faint nutty grain characters, and perhaps a little spiciness, although it may just be that zesty orange rind character. It was powerful when first opened, after it settles, it's decent, but it's not wowing me.

Taste is again, decent enough, but a little by the book. Mild entry with some hop presence running from front to back: but it's generic hoppiness, some bitterness, some citric bite and it doesn't develop as it goes along. In the end the hops just drop out, leaving an empty graininess standing awkwardly by itself. I think it's a little embarrassed.

Feel is fine. Light, but with some support.

Overall, it's a decent beer, really. But I was expecting something so much better from Bear Republic. Really, this should be setting the standard for a West Coast IBA, but it really feels like this is a phoned-in effort, and much more of a follower than a leader.

 1,609 characters

Photo of Stumpy29er
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of SHODriver
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured into a nonic pint to a deep black with a finger of dense light tan head that retains well with good lacing
S: smells of citrus, pine and earthy hops with the faintest hint of roasted malt
T: citrusy hops with grapefruit and orange flavor with a bit of roasted malt profile. slight pineyness and a touch earthy. swallow brings a blast of oily and resinous hop flavor with a bit more roasted malt and a slight coffee/chocolate
M: lighter side of medium on the palate with slightly prickly carbonation. a bit dry on the finish but the oily hops coat the palate as well. interesting
O: looks good, tastes good and smells good. this beer is a real winner with a lot of hop flavor but the dark malts could have stood to bring more flavor into the mix than just performing a color shift.

 790 characters

Photo of Mersh
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of Daniellobo
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of draheim
3.79/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz into a tulip. Pours a deep coffee brown/black w/ a big tan head, good uniform lacing.

Aroma is lots of pine and citrus with just a hint of roasty and chocolatey malt. Relatively subdued.

Taste is more pronounced, but not much better defined. Orange, grapefruit and piney hops serve as a counterweight to a fairly neutral dark malt base. There's just a touch of chocolate and roast, but it doesn't stand out as it does with some other ABAs. If I close my eyes it almost tastes like a regular IPA.

Mouthfeel is balanced and medium-bodied.

Overall a good enough beer but not in the same league with some of the better American black ales out there.

 654 characters

Photo of Rick778
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of EgadBananas
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: black, tan colored head, plenty lace.

S: some pine, citrus, roast and chocolate.

T: pine and bitterness, mild citrus, chocolate, roasted malts, coffee and flowers.

M: medium body, low carbonation.

O: nice ABA with pleasurable pine notes. Original racer definitely better, but this is good.

Thanks Alex!

 311 characters

Black Racer from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
3.92 out of 5 based on 531 ratings.
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