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: 530
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.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.79/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured at The Top in Gainesville. Black pour with super thin white head. Aroma of dark roasted malt and pine hops. Pretty straight forward aroma. Flavor follows aroma exactly, buy with a thickness to the beer I was not expecting. Hops cut through the thick, somewhat chocolatey, malt making it pretty easy drinking. Nicely done black ipa, but outside of Wookey Jack this style can only excite me so much.

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Photo of flexabull
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep dark black color with a very nice light tan colored head.

Aromas are of roasted malts and hints of pine needles.

Taste is malty up front, roasted malts, cocoa beans, and light coffee. Finish is lightly bitter, with pine needles, and mineral hoppiness.

Mouthfeel is crisp and clean, with decent body.

Overall, a pretty nice Cascadian Ale, but I'd like too see more hop flavors. Good beer, but second tier compared to others in the style.

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Photo of DrJay
3.81/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black, nearly opaque, but faintly clear with purple/ruby highlights. It had a thin skim and collar of tan foam that produced long lasting lace and showed good head retention. The aroma was full of roast, caramel, citrus, chocolate, and toffee -- very nice. Citrus bitterness cut through the malt, but notes of caramel and toffee, with a roasty finish, were still evident. Medium bodied with lowish carbonation and faint alcohol warmth, plus slight astringency/dryness from the dark malts. Very tasty. It had a bigger malt profile than I expected, but this matched well with the hops.

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Photo of nmann08
3.82/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served from a 22oz bottle.

Pours a dark brown, almost black with an off-white thick head, great head retention.

Smell wise, pulling out molasses, some fruit, pine smell from the hops. There is an interesting smoke smell that is coming through, which I usually enjoy, but this seems misplaced.

It starts with malts, almost sweet, then turns into a bitter piney taste leaving a lingering smoke aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is fine.

Overall, this is an OK representation of the style. Its good, but so many better examples of better American Black Ales out there.

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Photo of Chico1985
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've caught this a few times on-tap now, listed as 8.2% ABV...

Pours dark but not quite black, some translucence there. Thick beige head does stick around for the duration eventually becoming a cap, pretty nice lacing left.

Nose is pretty hoppy, lots of pine, fruit and resin with some roasted/chocolate in the back. Good but strength fades with time.

Taste is good, a decent balance between stout and IPA but leans more towards the hops. Lots of grapefruit, pine, slightly dank, some citrus and tropical there too. Big chocolate/cocoa powder and roasted malt back it up.

A bit high on the carbonation for me, some alcohol bite. Quite bitter.

Yet another good variation of Racer 5, though I'm not a huge fan of black IPAs so it's not one of my favorites. For the style it's good though, nice elements from stouts/IPAs.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood II,

A: Pours a deep brown with medium off-white head, good retention and lace.

S: Dark chocolate malt and grapefruit, standard Black IPA smell.

T: Chocolate, hint of roast backed with citrus (grapefruit and lemon) with a hint of pine. Well balanced flavours.

M: Medium-bodied, resiny at times, pretty smooth.

O: A rather good Black IPA. A style I'm not the greatest fan of but I enjoyed this effort, not surprising since I enjoy Racer 5.

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Photo of spoony
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From a 650 ml bottle (dated April 3, 2013) into a tulip.

A-The brew was poured cool, at 38 degrees, and it poured heavy and syrupy. The color is virtually black and not much light makes it through the center. There is a fat one-finger head of mocha-colored foam that drops a cap quickly, but leaves nice lacing.

S-The smell is very reminiscent of an IPA with citrusy hops (mostly orange, some lemon), floral notes, and pine. A touch of spice, too. Underneath the hops is a milky-chocolate malt note. No char or roast here.

T-The taste is similar to the smell with lots of hoppy citrus flavors and a peppery, orange spice. The milky chocolate fades a bit as the brew warms and some caramel notes come through. A touch of bitterness from both the hops and roasted malts peaks out. Alcohol is well-integrated, but noticeable.

M-The brew feels heavy with fine, long-lasting carbonation.

O-I continue to have a hard time getting into Bear Republic beers. This is an assertive, full-flavored black ale, but something about this beer is off-putting to me. Perhaps it is the hops they use, which are impressive in strength, but balance strangely against the malts, in my opinion? Or perhaps it is the slightly heavy feel? Whatever it is, this beer (like Racer X) just doesn't turn my screws.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look pitch black minimal ruby highlights peaking through when held toward the light, mocha tan head forms thick and lasts quite awhile, fine even lacing strung around my chalice as it dwindles. Aroma has dark chocolate notes, herbal earthy hops, along with some anise notes. Flavor has a milk chocolate, dark herbal notes, bitter baker's chocolate mild coffee roasts in the dark malt notes. Very strange mix going on here bitter baker's chocolate again, roasted malts nearly burnt marshmallows, herbal tea like bitterness dank earthy character from the hops seeping through the dark malted IPA. Mouthfeel is medium bodied slightly resinous dry finish from the dark malts and bitter hops. Overall very easy to consume a great Black IPA compared to most versions out there I'm usually telling myself this just tastes like a hoppy porter.

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Photo of Kendo
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Poured from the bomber into a tumbler-style pint glass. Body is black with a half-finger tannish head. Leaves some splotchy lace behind.

S: Chocolate malt and juicy citrusy hops with a touch of pine. Not terribly strong, but a good nose for this style.

T: Big on roastiness up front - roasted malt, chocolate malt, a touch of charcoal. Finishes with a tannic, woody bitterness. Earthy with some pine needles thrown in. Very bitter in the aftertaste (think pine resin and, if you can imagine aging a beer in pine barrels, I think it might taste like this somewhat). Alcohol was noted early, but after a few sips I got used to it and kind of forgot about it. In a lot of ways, that sums up this beer: I wasn't enamored with it at first, but after a few palate adjustments, it turns out OK.

M: A bit thin/watery. I wonder if a bigger malt foundation would soften that strong bitterness at the finish. Carbonation is light, making this one feel a bit creamy - though its lack of heft keeps it from getting there. Call it medium in heft, but be prepared for an argument, as in many ways it feels lighter.

O: Decent. I've had plenty that are better in this style - which I'm quite fond of - which makes this a bit of a disappointment from a brewery that usually impresses.

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Photo of angrybabboon
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed 5/27/13

Appearance: Despite the name of the beer, this is really more of a dark brown than black - pours with a creamy, tan head - fades to an interesting web of wisps, leaves a few spots of lacing but nothing exceptional

Smell: Roasty, lightly burnt, and some West Coast hops - roasted grains - some burnt, borderline charred notes, lightly vegetal, kind of smells like burnt popcorn - grapefruit and pine shine through the dark malts, hoppy, with a potency that actually seems to increase as it warms up

Taste: Hoppy chocolate and burnt coffee, basically - dark chocolate, baker's chocolate, cocoa, and burnt, dry chocolate malts - hints of burnt coffee - fleshy grapefruit and orange, with some rind - some vaguely tropical, hoppy notes too - some caramel malts, cooked bread, and burnt caramel - kind of balanced, in a weird way

Mouthfeel: Medium body, nice carbonation, smooth, with some chewiness

Overall: Did you know? Black Racer is made by harvesting the engine sludge that results from attempting to use Racer 5 IPA instead of gasoline.

This is an above average black IPA. It's not the best in its category, but it's interesting. I would have expected a more intense hoppy presence from Bear Republic. But the hops here are pretty good. My only complaint with this beer is the weird, vegetal, burnt popcorn-like aroma (which slightly impacts the taste). Regardless, this is definitely worth a try. I'd be surprised if this is a limited, brewed-once beer.

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Photo of metter98
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is clear but very dark red in color and has a slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a thin beige colored head that quickly died down, leaving a large patch of bubbles on the surface, a collar around the edge and some lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of chocolate and roasted malts are present in the nose along with notes of underlying citrusy hops.
T: Similar to the smell, flavors of roasted chocolate malts are present in the taste along with a light to moderate amount of bitterness and hints of pine resin from the hops.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. The roasted malts lend some dryness to the finish.
O: This beer doesn't seem to be as roasty and bitter compared to other beers in the style but is pleasant to drink in its own regard and has good drinkability.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bomber from the Potsdam NY IGA for 6.99+tax

Appearance - Dark brown colour with an average size fizzy/frothy beige head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some decent lacing. The head lasted for 3-4 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, grains, hops, grapefruit

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, chocolate, and roasted/burnt nuts. There are also some grapefruit and hops, but not as much as I would have hoped. It ends with a roasted malty slightly hoppy aftertaste.

Overall - I was really excited for this one.. but I expected more juiciness/hops/west coast flavour. These flavours are there, just not all that pungent. It seems more balanced towards the malty/roasted side flavour wise. Still good, just no Wookey Jack.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bomber, bottled Jan 21, 2013. Muchas gracias to doktorzee for carting this back from Cali for me.

This beer pours a very dark mahogany-tinted brown colour, with three fingers of puffy, rocky, and creamy beige head, which leaves some lovely dense treeline lace around the glass as it slowly melts away.

It smells of roasted, somewhat charred caramel malt, bittersweet chalky cocoa, aged citrus rind, vegetal pine hops, and some mild spicy pepper notes - which make it hard to shake the idea of mole sauce. The taste is medium baker's chocolate, toasted dark bread, kind of musty, fruity citrus, last autumn's fallen pine combs, a twinge of cold coffee, and loitering vegetable greens. No earthly sign of that 8 points and change ABV.

The carbonation is lightly frothy up front, and quickly settles to a pleasant lilt, the body a sturdy medium-heavy weight, the dark ale really delivering here, and mostly smooth amongst a wee clamminess. It finishes quite off-dry, the judicious chocolate malt kind of throwing its heft around, while the hops maintain their pithy holding position.

A surprisingly malt-forward example of an ABA, especially coming from this brewery. Not a bad thing per se, but I was kind of hoping to see how these guys approach this hybrid style with their usual arsenal of hopitude. In the end, a decent, mildly hoppy dark ale, with a boozy punch that you sure don't see coming.

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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.

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Photo of Philousa
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This pours an abysmal black with a red tinge against the light. I catch some flakes suspended in the drink, though I don't see sediment in the bottom of the bottle. Either I got to this too late or they didn't do a good job in the filtering department. The creamy, tan brown head dissipates from one finger to a thin, even layer on top with decent lacing. Tons of milk chocolate aroma starts things out while this is still cold. Undoubtedly some black patent and chocolate malt in there. Pine sticks out like a sore thumb as it warms, with grapefruit and some rye spice poking out with a swirl. Smooth chocolate, almost like chocolate malt ice cream, starts the flavor profile, moving to caramel and cream. The bitterness is pronounced, as it should be, spicy, earthy, and citrusy. The earthiness comes through in a barkish, almost harsh type of way. The feel is middling, though more on the viscous side of the scale, while the beer prickles the tongue in a way an overcarbonated drink might. The finish is dry.

This is a fine Black IPA on the top of my list if it weren't for Wookie Jack.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.91/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours two fingers of tan head on the darkest brown body.
The aroma is roasted malt, pine and a little grapefruit.
The taste is nicely pine bitterness throughout with the roasted malt keeping it in check. Great profile.
The texture is smooth.
Really enjoyable.

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Photo of Zorro
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Clear black colored beer with a tall light brown colored head.

Smells strongly hoppy with scents of pepper and pine with some carrot and smoke.

Starts out mildly sweet with a malty flavor of mostly patent malt. Medium bitterness with a taste of carrot and onion. Pretty much an Imperial IPA with Dark malt added.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall and OK beer, Onion flavor doesn't belong in this style though.

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Photo of hoody711
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

$6 for a bomber of Bear Republic anything is a sure thing. Hooray for black IPAs.

A - bomber into tulip. Thin head with a tan film on top of a jet black beer. Good lacing.

S - mostly mild fruity hops up front. Deep breaths yield roasty malts, a touch of dark chocolate. Definitely some booziness in there. I clearly have no clue what I'm talking about, but it's pretty good.

T - I'm getting mostly roasty dark chocolate. In the middle of each sip, the hops make themselves known, but they're in the background, just like the nose. A nice warm alcohol burn at the end.

M - not heavy and oily like I expected. It's not light, but it's somewhat refreshing for a big dark beer. The alcohol lingers but not too long. Sweetness of the chocolate really lasts the longest.

O - a pretty good black IPA, I guess. I'd like a more hoppy nose, and a more hoppy taste. Basically I would like a little more IPA in this blend, but it's pretty good.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed form the bomber in a pint glass, this interesting black ipa pours a thick dark blackish brown with a nice tan head that dissipates to a thin foam with light lacing. Nose of heavy citrus, thick molasses, chocolate, bittering hops, and syrupy sweet malts. Flavors are up front with bitterness and sweetness as chocolate malts and hops make a play for the front. Rich citrus hop flavors of grapefruit and bitter orange mingle with molasses and heavy sweet malts that comes off extremely well balanced for such a heavy handed profile of hops. Smooth yet bitter aftertaste is lightened by crisp carbonation that lightens the mouth feel with sweet dark malts.
Intense and bracing.

A hop heads delight who looks for some balance to their brew with a malt backbone.

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Photo of CA_brewster
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very very dark brew basically black with a very thin tan head. Light carbonation. The aroma is deliciously hoppy, picking up on a lot of molasses and alcohol. The taste is nice. It's an intense beer but the flavors are good. Lots of hop and alcohol bitterness. Malty molasses flavors are prominent but they are nicely balanced by some good hoppy characteristics.

Overall another great beer from Bear Republic. It reminds me a lot of Big Bear Black Stout though, they are already very hop forward with their beers. They really should have hopped the shit out of this one so it could be on it's own level. A good beer worth drinking though!

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Photo of Pencible
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: This poured a nearly opaque black garnet with moderate tan head.
S: It smelled like dry dark chocolate and some coffee with a little citrus hops.
T: It tasted like grapefruit and citrus zest and dark chocolate, with a little copper and espresso and honey. It had a clean bittersweet aftertaste.
M: It was thick with a little carbonation. Nice full body.
D: This was a solid black IPA. The scent was good, the taste was better, and the body was great. The finish was smooth with well hidden alcohol, so it was easy to drink. Yum.

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Photo of Billolick
3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle, $7.99 at DeCicco's in Mohegan lake, NY.

I see no bottled on or best before dating, although one reviewer did refer to this type of info...

Pours near black, under a large and lasting cafe au lait head. Gets frothy, and then leaves thick bands of stick, some sheeting and continued froth.

Milk chocolate, burnt toast and dark grains on the nose.

Tasty dark ale, they call it an IPA on the label, and the hops are clearly present but not really bursting onto the palate. More dark grains, smooth chocolate and again some char on the palate. Smooth, creamy and satisfying on the tongue.

Quality and highly enjoyable offering.

Glad to spot it and give it a try. Well worth seeking out.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Pours a pitch black color with an inch of khaki head. Lots of lacing. The aroma is roasted malts, sweet grapefruit, pine, some chocolate and earth notes. The taste is more of that sweet grapefruit and citrus along with roasty chocolate. Slightly bitter pine along with dark chocolate towards the end. Smokey, roasted malts at the finish. Mild alcohol presence. Somewhat of a creamy mouthfeel. This beer is a nice balance of hops and the chocolatey, roasted malts. Overall, a well crafted Black IPA worth seeking out.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a very dark, almost black coloring with ruby highlights around the very edges and a thin, filmy, light tan coating of surface head. Aromas of roasted hops, resiny and slightly charred, and a touch of tropical fruit sweetness. Flavors of dark, sweet malt in the backbone, both fruity and a touch of molasses, with a resiny, bitter, slightly fruity hops overlay and a kiss of smoke and roast. Very balanced, on a full, smooth body. Tasty brew. The aftertaste has smoke, bitter hops, and roast, as well as a touch of chocolate. Very layered and dynamic. Slightly bitter, roasty finish that lingers long enough to entice more drinking.

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Black Racer from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
3.92 out of 5 based on 530 ratings.
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