Black Racer | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

very good
107 Reviews
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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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Reviews: 107 | Ratings: 531
Photo of Slatetank
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I picked this up at Monde, enjoyed chilled from a goblet chilled from the 22oz bottle shared with tenderbranson69.

The color is black with opaque appearance with 2 fingers tight bead and streamers of lace with good retention. The smell is very good with floral, citrus and tropical aroma of hops dominant with a nice malt aroma and a hint of alcohol but no real roasted odor. The feel is very good with moderately bitter feel and moderate carbonation, low sweetness and resinous hop texture with a semi-dry finish.

The flavor has a mild pine tinge with slight hint of char in the background with moderatly citrus flavored hops with a slight yeast fruitiness and light raisiny element but pine and grapefruit outweighs the malt strongly with some pithy flavor which makes the finish seem bitter toward the end with mild alcohol warmth. Overall I like this a lot, pretty great example of the style and I was pleased it met my expectations considering I think highly of the original Racer 5 IPA. I recommend this to those who like hop forward black IPA's

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Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2013 bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a deep dark crimson black with excellent 3 finger dark khaki brown head.

S: Sweet dank citrus hops. Tropical fruits a plenty. Aroma is heavy on the hops.

T: Dark chocolate malts, with some nice sweet fruit finish. Pretty sweet with a bit of a piney finish.

M: Smooth, medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Getting chocolatey sweet finish.

O: A very solid BIPA that I would love to be year round. Doesn't have the hop bit bitterness that racer 5 has, but this is a solid/fantastic BIPA offering.

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Photo of IronLover
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Totally black color. Poured with a short beige foam that quickly reduced to a wispy cap. Slighlty pungent citrus hop aroma with graint, charred dark malt and coffee aromas in the backgrond. Truly amazing that these two aromas can shine through in the same ale. Pungent citrus hops up front with dark malts beneath. Flavor quickly rolls to ripe grapfruit only to transition to charred malt and coffee flavors toward the end. Finishes with a bitter, black malt and citrus hop aftertaste. An overwhelming ride for the taste buds.

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Photo of GBallHead
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Received this as an extra in a trade, prefer reviewing most extras (that I havent had) rather then drinking and forgetting like most beer.

From Bear Republic [Independent since 1995(I think)]
Black Racer IPA

Amazing beer, its a black ipa but seems to drink almost like a session or pale ale.

The hops are definitely there (my favorite styles of beer are stouts and ipas so this was an excellent beer to try and review) I mighttt have been a little intoxicated before drinking this beer but this bomber went down much quicker then any 12oz would.

Was not expecting this taste at all, thoroughly enjoyed this beer and its definitely worth a try, no matter what styles are your go tos.

I know this isnt the usual review everyone is looking for, but I didnt have the oppurtunity to pour it into a glass I left it in the bottle so most of the categories would be tainted depending on when/how it was tasted etc.

Points I awarded.
appearance 4.0
smell 4.0
taste 4.0
mouthfeel 5.0
overall 4.0

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Photo of ssteakley
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After I poured this into a glass I checked to make sure it was an IPA. Yep...First thought after the first taste was chocolate. Very satisfying after taste pleasantly lingers. This one I will keep to myself unless it is a special occasion. Perfect beer to drink when the Longhorns are winning...gotta love it!

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 4/30/2013. Pours fairly pitch black color with a 1-2 finger dense khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big grapefruit, orange zest, lemon zest, tangerine, dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, light char, toast, floral, light pine, and floral/roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of hop and roasted malt notes; with good strength. Taste of grapefruit, orange zest, lemon zest, dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, light char, toast, floral, light pine, and floral/roasted earthiness. Fair amount of roasted/pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, orange zest, cocoa, roasted malt, light char, floral, light pine, and floral/roasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice balance and complexity of hop and roasted malt flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a moderately creamy, sticky, and lightly chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent black IPA! All around great balance and complexity of hop and roasted malt flavors; and very smooth to sip on. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of ONUMello
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Very dark brown with a one-finger tan head
S: Lots of pine hops, a bit of molasses and citrus
T: Matches the nose. Distinct pine initialy, then a fair amount of citrus, a touch floral and roasted malt to round it out
M: Medium-bodied with a nice crispness
O: Very distinct, especially with the pine. If I didn't see the color I would almost peg this as a full-bodied DIPA. I like it

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Photo of avaldivia
4.09/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Taps in Petaluma

A: Very Dark. Nice thick head head that left a good amount of lacing.

S: Grapefruit. A little bit of a roasted malt character but the hop aroma definitely overpowered.

T: Grapefruit upfront and in the middle. The roasted flavor is there on the end, but it is a bit lighter than I had expected. Again the hops totally dominate.

M: Nice medium body. Good carbonation.

O: Not my favorite Black IPA or Black Ale, but one I did enjoy. I was glad to see Bear Republic come out with something new like this. I would definitely order it again.

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Photo of Dope
4.09/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No bottle date but released fairly recently.

A: Pours a very dark brown, almost black pour. Big, fluffy light brown head. Head fades slowly with great retention. Almost solid walls of lacing left behind. Excellent.

S: Lots of pine and grapefruit with a bit of resin. A hint of chocolate but the hops rule here.

T: Again with the pine, resin, and bitter grapefruit. Roasted malt is more noticeable here but still mostly obscured. A little bit of chocolate and char tries to battle it out with the bitterness. Wave of bitterness in the finish. More pine and resin mainly with some cocoa. Lingering resinous hops in the aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied, unremarkable.

O: Nice black IPA. A lot more balanced than your average Racer 5 or Racer X but still the roasted malt barely has a chance to get going. At the same time, doesn't have quite the sharpness and quality of flavors that I get from something like a Racer 5. Not very bitter either. Good but not great. Feel like it's missing something. I still enjoyed it plenty, it's just hard to follow up the act of their other hoppy beers I think.

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Photo of brureview
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark opaque chocolate in a tulip with a 1 finger head.
A tulip is an excellent glass for this IPA- and most IPAs.

The suggested serving temp is 40-45F- which is too low for most beers, especially IPAs.
Some pale ales can be served at this temp. I served the beer at about 45F.

The aroma was a light vanilla-chocolate from the head. There was grapefruit in the aroma when I opened the bottle, but not in the glass.

The mouth feel is lightly carbonated-less carbonation works well in this IPA.

The taste was coffee with some lemon. It is not strong- I would have preferred a stronger taste, quite good nevertheless. Perhaps this lighter taste contributes to the general balance of the beer- which is very well done.

I especially enjoyed the finish- excellent bitterness- just the right amount with good hoppiness.

Overall, an excellent Black IPA, and very different than other IPAs. It's underrated and mellower than most IPAs. I especially like the balance of hops, bitterness, and aroma.

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Photo of lsummers
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured on tap a pitch black with a two finger light tan head. Sticky lacing that clings.

Smell is pretty well balanced with some nice roasted grain and piney citric hops. Baked goods and fresh grassy notes.

Taste is roasted oats and nutty brown bread with that piney hop forward bitterness. Ends on a burnt brown sugar sweetness.

Mouthfeel is fairy round and sticky, still light enough to not weigh it down to much.

Overall this is a great example of a black ipa. Reminds me of some great porter qualities mixed with that hop sweet bitterness we all love. The blend of qualities is very well balanced.

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

Pours from the growler into an imperial nonic a deep garnet color with a blooming lighter beige head atop,aromas are full on pine and citrus over top of roast and bitter chocolatet,the way it should be in my opinion.Sharp and pickly pine hops on the palate with some dryer earthy tone,some roast and bitter chocolate comes into play as well but he pine resin wins out.This is what I want and expect for the style and the left coast once again brings it,love this beer.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.06/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on-tap at The Local Miami. Served in a Sweetwater pint glass.

A- Pours a mostly opaque black color with a 3/4 inch light brown head that bears great retention time before slowly winding down to a

S- Interesting aroma full of hops and mocha. Slightly musty with notes of pine, lightly roasted coffee and a tad of smoke.

T- Very different from other black IPAs I've had. The emphasis is mainly on the roasty malts than the hops though it is still bitter. The result is a more balanced black ale that's very straightforward in its execution and not very complex, though very drinkable.

M- Semi-bitey from the hops and mild booze. Medium carbonation and a fullish body.

O- A unique take on the Black IPA. Not as amazing as Bear Republic's other offerings but still quite tasty.

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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.

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Photo of arizcards
4.06/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber in mid-July from Total Wine for $5.99. Bottled on .4.30.2013.

Beer poured black with a nice tan head that is leaving lacing behind.

Nose has hints of roasted malts and citrus.

Taste is very well balanced between the roasted chocolate malts and the citrus hops. I suspect there was some hop fade over time.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied and smooth.

Overall this is a delicious beer. I will need to try this earlier next year to see how the hops truly are. Delicious beer nonetheless...rates up there with Odell, Stone, Uinta, and Firestone Walker's versions. Recommend.

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Photo of Jimmys
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

bomber into SAVOR snifter. cant find a bottled on date.

A: very dark brown body. head is off-white and frothy. good retention. great lacing.

S: fantastically fresh American hop aroma works with a rich malt presence. dark malt.

T: roasty. a little astringent. tobacco and a bit of smoke in the middle of the drink. much more malt here than indicated in the aroma.

M: mild carb on a medium/full body.

D: very tasty Black IPA. get it fresh.

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Photo of prototypic
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black Racer is a dark chocolate fudge color. It’s not pitch black. Plenty of light cuts through and reveals burgundy highlights throughout. Nice color nonetheless. It’s capped with an off-white head that rises to about a finger in height. Relatively modest. It scales back to a surface covering quickly. As it descends, it leaves a lighter, sticky coat of lace trailing down the glass.

It certainly smells good! Starts out with a mix of chocolate and citric hops. It’s a good mix. The malt base smells like cocoa, dark chocolate, light caramel, and perhaps a touch of roasted malts. It’s more diverse than I expected. Roasted coffee or espresso is definitely in the mix. Smells a little burnt. The hops have a mix of citric and piney scents. Grapefruit and orange are the strongest. The malts and hops complement each other really well. Alcohol isn’t all that noticeable. Smells really good!

The flavor starts out with a blend of light caramel, dark chocolate, and cocoa flavors. It’s a little sweet, but not all that much. The chocolate flavor is definitely more of the darker variety rather than sweet milk chocolate. It tastes a little burnt, like espresso. That’s nice a nice touch. It’s subtle, but is a big positive. The hops are very flavorful, featuring citrus grapefruit and orange flavors primarily. There is a bit of pine that follows. It’s definitely bitter. Despite the wealth of malt, there’s not much balance. It’s honestly a bit resiny and perhaps too bitter. All of the flavors come together really well. This is good stuff. Alcohol is there, but never comes across as very strong. Finishes with a blast of citric hop flavors and cocoa. Did I mention it’s dry? Very dry?

The body is medium. Carbonation seems light and soft. It’s pretty smooth and easy drinking for a big beer. This bomber won’t be much of a problem.

Black Racer is good beer. It’s one hell of a bitter, hoppy Black IPA…that’s for sure. If you’re looking for balance here, keep looking. Having said that, it is tasty beer. Really tasty. Easy recommendation.

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Photo of Flounder57
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass at the Avenue in Allston.

Appearance: This beer poured a small mocha head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a pitch black color with no clarity or bubbles seen coming up through the glass. Super nice mocha lacing on the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Roasted notes, chocolate, smoke, citrus, and resiny piney hops.

Taste: Same as above with burnt flavors, ash, and bitterness in the end. Pretty characteristic of black ales.

Mouthfeel: light camp fire notes, a little chewy, full bodied, and low to medium carbonation.

Overall: Pretty nice black ale. Another one to add to the lineup.

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Photo of Duhast500
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 1pt. 6oz. bomber into a La Fin Du Monde tulip glass.

The color is dark black with slight dark highlights. The head is two fingers of foamy brownish/tan head with some webby lacing left on the glass.

The smell is hoppy at first then has a dark malty aroma that pushes out. There seems to be a fight between which will be first, hops or malt. The aroma seems to be leaning toward the dark malts and gives off a biscuit aroma.

The taste is malty again with that same bready flavor. There is touches of fig and raisin in there as well. Toward the end the malt fades back to give off a citrus hop flavor that was a pleasant surprise. The end comes back with some dark malt but also some bitterness that gives an earthy spin to the flavor.

The feel of this beer is medium bodied with a nice easy drinking feel which is a slight surprise since it is an 8.1% ABV beer. It’s smooth with a nice aftertaste that hangs but does not linger. This beer has been better than I expected.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Dogfish Head pint glass. Pours a very dark ruddy brown with a fine one finger light tan head with great retention and lacing. Nice lightly herbal, piney hops, hints of malt and citrus. Flavor follows, with piney, citrus hops, light and toasted malt very well balanced and integrated. Lingering citrus hop and light toasted malt finish. Medium body with light creaminess. A somewhat understated black ale, but the mellow balance of the hops and toasted malt is very nicely done. A great tasting alternative from some of the more assertive hop-forward black ales. The hops are pleasantly fresh tasting. I like the mouth scourging hop bombs, but I will definitely buy this again too.

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Photo of macrosmatic
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Poured from bomber into a CCB pint glass.

A: Very dark brown, nearly opaque, with a one-finger tan silky head and almost no carbonation bubbles visible.

S: Chocolate and roasted malts, a bit of coffee, and some citrus hops - but there isn't much hoppy aroma.

T: Chocolate and roasted malt-forward, but with significantly more grapefruit and citrus rind hoppiness than the nose. Really ends up a nice interplay of hops and bitterness and malts. Good amount of bitterness in the hang.

M: Medium to heavy body, low alcohol presence, and average carbonation sensation.

O: This is another good offering from Bear Republic. It falls short of the best Black IPAs around, but I'm glad to see it on the shelves here.

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Photo of Mavigo
4/5  rDev +2%

Poured from a bottle into a large mug.

A: It pours a murky, dark brown (almost black color) with a short tan head that lasts for a few minutes before evaporating to a thin tan layer, leaving small patches of lace.

S: Has quite an aroma too it, I can smell it without having to bring my nose down. Floral tones predominate, as I would expect from the style.

T/M: Initially, it comes off to me as sweet, like mollasses and brown sugar. It's full bodied, rich and fairly carbonated. It finishes sweet, somewhat syrupy, but has a good follow through bitterness kick from the hops, although it's mild.

O: Quite a unique beer to me. I don't think I've had a black ale that was also an IPA, though I'm not really a fan of the latter. Nonetheless, this was quite an enjoyable beer, it was well balanced and robust. I'd have it again and I'd recommend.

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Photo of inlimbo77
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz, March '13 release
5oz mini snifter

A: Pours a nice dark brown color. Layer of tan head. Some lacing sheeting. Pretty BIPA.

S: Roast. Chocolate. Hops. Mostly pulling piney earthy hops over the really juicy fruit ones.

T: This is really good stuff here. Up front you get nice pine like hop character. Bitterness isn't too aggressive. Then you get the meshing of the chocolate and roast character. The malt bill isn't too thick and still lets this drink like an IPA more than a hoppy porter. Dry finish.

M: Medium bodied.

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Photo of jdense
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle enjoyed at home in tulip glass, March 2013 bottling date.

Black as night body, tan head, good lacing. Citrusy nose, minimal roast aroma. Taste is on the sweet citrus side, once again not a lot of roast, close to style. Medium mouthfeel, good effervescence. I like how they minimized the roast, too many breweries are a bit heavy handed. Easy drinking, I wonder how this is a bit fresher...

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.99/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter glass.

Appearance: Completely dark brown, some might say black. The head an easy tan color rose to maybe 1/2" off the body. Settles real quick after just the first sip. Sticky lacing on the wall of the glass.

Smell:You smell and you would definitely like the light sugar-caramel scent. Comes off a little piney.

Taste: Definitely has IPA qualities, floral and gently bitter. malty and has a smoothness to it that is just awesome. Has a sweetness to it feels of light molasses and little bit of citrus.

Mouth: What lingers really is a roasted maltiness, the glass down and only thing that can tame the taste is a slice of cheddar.

Overall: I bought this on chance and definitely money well spent. Thank you Mike at Superstar Beers, until next time. Salud!

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