Friday, November 9, 2012

Bear Republic Racer X Double IPA

Type: Double IPA
Origin: Cloverdale/Healdsburg, CA
Price: $7.99/22 oz
ABV: 8.3%
NSP: 6.75

I had this one at Tiger Tiger last time they released it, and I was blown away by it.  So when I saw they had bottled a bunch of it this time around, I immediately tracked it down so I could put it under the reviewoscope.  Good call.

Smell-wise, this is initially malty and sweet-smelling, with pretty minimal hop punch.  I'm starting to think that my olfactory abilities have been completely obliterated by so many hefty IPAs, because I've barely noticed any hop smell in most of the double IPAs I've had recently.  But the lady said that it doesn't smell like Pine-Sol, which is her usual response to IPAs, so maybe I'm not that skewed.  Anyway, on further sniffs, there's something more to the sweet aroma than just straight sweet.  There's some caramel and such in there, as with a lot of double IPAs, but I'm pretty sure I pick up some vanilla in the background, which is a bit unexpected.  Even though there isn't much hop muscle in the smell, there's still obvious hop-driven citrus and pineapple scents floating around.

The vanilla stays there in the flavor, and it's a really delicious accent that I've never found in any other IPA, double, imperial, or otherwise.  The hop bitterness is actually a bit delicate, at least in terms of a double IPA.  There's more of the citrus and pineapple, but neither are prominent...or maybe it's more that they're countered by the malt.  It starts out seeming like it's going to be a sugar bomb, but after a few seconds, the sweetness dissipates and leaves a pretty clean finish, in large part because the hop bitterness comes back around for a counterattack.

So, this is malty, but not too malty, with some delicious accents in the malt component.  It's also hoppy, but not too hoppy, with some delicious accents in the hop component.  Put all of that together, and you've got a beer that gracefully grinds the rail of the double IPA category without falling off and faceplanting on the concrete.  It's supremely well-balanced, and if there is such a thing, I'd call this a session double IPA- obviously not in terms of ABV, but because the hops aren't so overpowering that you immediately obliterate your palate, and the malt isn't so hefty that you feel like you just ate a whole loaf of bread.  High marks.
P.S. Don't let this warm too much- the hops get a bit prickly as it warms and it starts to wobble and windmill its arms.

1 comment:

  1. I was hoping for a joke about P90X, but I guess that's a little too far in left field.