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The Oracle - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
The OracleThe Oracle

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

2,218 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,218
Reviews: 669
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 10.77%
Wants: 452
Gots: 261 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-04-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,218 | Reviews: 669
Reviews by CorneliusBunker:
More User Reviews:
Photo of macrosmatic
3.39/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Thanks to Cyclone8 for this one! Reviewed from notes. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into an Upland pint glass.

A: Pours quite hazy, bronze-ish gold, with a half-finger of white head and an average amount of small bubble visible carbonation.

S: Pine, caramel and biscuit malt sweetness, and bitter citrus. Not a huge aroma for a DIPA.

T: Caramel malts, a lot of bitterness, some pine and the bitterest of citrus rind hops, and quite a bit of boozy alcohol. As it warms, the booze and bitterness increases up front, then fades into some malt with caramel sweetness.

M: Medium body with quite a bit of carbonation sensation. The alcohol it quite noticeable, but nothing like DFH 120 Minutes.

O: This embodies a lot of the characteristics I don't like in a DIPA. Big alcohol flavor, caramel, and bitterness without the underlying hop flavors to keep me interested. While not a drain-pour, this isn't anything that I'll go back to.

Photo of KFBR392
3.52/5  rDev -15.8%

Appearance: pours with a glowing golden orange color. Finger worth of frothy white head. Active carbonation is a touch above average for the style but very fitting. Sticky rings of lacing left behind with each drink.

Smell: pine and oily hops jump out right away. Heavy saturated citrus with notes of grapefruit, tangerines, and ripe oranges. A potent malt backbone packs a semi-sweet punch of caramel and sour dough bread. Bitter hops give a welcome bite on the back end. Resinous pine and hop oils carry throughout and are felt on the finish.

Taste: Sweet malts and touches of booze immediately warm the palate. Potent saturated citrus quickly follows on the front. Joining force and evening out the potent hops is malts notes of bread, toffee, and molasses. Bright oily hops and some herbal pine notes bright this beer full circle.

Mouthfeel: Lots of hop oils. Bitterness and sweet malts play well off one another.

Overall: Lots of similar characteristics to Hopslam. Tasty but nothing I would really go out of my way for. So many DIPAs these days, this one is another face in the crowd.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It's about time that we have a non-West Double IPA that emphasizes extreme bitterness and abandoning the heavily caramelized grains.

The Oracle starts with a medium copper/medium amber color with a subtle russet hue. A rich head formation of eggshell white foam reduces to a sticky sheet and laces in rings as the beer fades away. A very gentlemanly appearance and has all the hallmarks of great IPA's.

Resiny hops lead the aromatic way with pine, fresh cut grasses, and sharp citrus notes. With all the attention on the hop invasion, the crisp graham cracker malts show timidly up front and is everso fleeting from it's initial impression on- just the way a hop-forward beer should. No esters, no harsh alcohols.

Again in flavor, the malts give a suble caramel base, but that is soon swallowed by intense hop flavor and bitterness- this beer is simply not about the malts. Sharp pine, grassy, and resiny flavors are bold, bright, and command attention at all points in the beer's flavor. Once the malt/hop heirarchy is established in flavor, the bitterness kicks in even more and provides the dry crisp and bitter finish that is rarely found even in the greatest IPA's.

Moderately full and creamy early but those textures are quickly thrown to the wind in favor of a quick transition to dry, hoppy, and crispness. Bitter and resiny til the long, lingering end.

A very refreshing Double IPA because it's rare that these big hoppy beers truely exhibit the intense bitterness and dry character throughout that we see here. It's definately a swift kick to the taste buds.

Thanks a ton Cheezdawg!

Photo of humuloner22
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

This is a very nice offering from Bell's. Its not really like Hopslam, but it is very similar in respect to Two Hearted. I would say this is more like TH in that its malty, balanced, not overly sweet, but more boozy. Which you would expect from the abv.

Pours: Dark amber with some head in the aggressive pour, but it settles to virtually no lacing. Which based upon the abv and style is expected.

Aroma: Hoppy, boozy, some sweet maltiness. This is not a beer that is outstanding from the rest, but it is very solid. It might be confused with being too pedestrian, but I find it so well balanced that is why people would think in this regard.

Taste: Sweetness, piney, tropical and floral hops dominate ,but you get a good malt balance going on. Its very similar to Mars, I imagine they follow a similar recipe. My only complaint is that it does have a fair amount of alcohol in the taste. Not that this is a bad thing but its not one you can drink more than two of in a night.

Overall: I don't think this is a true west coast style DIPA, but I do think it is somewhat true to the style with a mid-west interpretation. Some have said its pretty mundane, but I think that is just people who have had too many Hop bombs this year. I felt this one was well balanced and enjoyable.

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

neat double ipa, but i think its less distinct and unique than some of their others, and certainly less so than the best in the game, although its hard to fault this because its awesome. i like that it has a little lighter body than many, and that despite it, the booze isnt exposed. i also like how dramatic the hops are in the aroma, no grain weighing on them at all. its a well designed beer for that reason, but the taste to me, as fresh and tasty as it is, is nothing overly unique. its like a lot of good ones, but lacks the touch that sets the best ones apart. its the most like a west coast style of the several that they do i think, but its not as resinous. the hops are clean and only middle of the spectrum bitter. i love that. carbonation is high enough to cut through too, which helps it stay lighter. even as it warms it stays relatively easy. i think the packaging is some of the coolest out there too, and the beer is lovely, but it just doesnt stand out for me all that much from the top tier of big ipa. bells has no misses though, thats a fact.

Photo of oberon
4.37/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Now part of the bottle selection at the Mellow Mushroom in Greensboro.Poured into a standard pint glass a hazed deep burnt orange with a tight formed,well defined one finger white head that held well.A blast of grapefruit and tangerine aromas lets you know this is some seriuos hop juice comin at ya,a tinge of sweet caramel and alcohol comes into play as well.The mouthfeel is coating but not overly thick,just lush and somewhat oily.Serious hop juice on the palate,huge grapefruit,tangerines,and candied orange flavors,with a little pine resin,but the hop flavors are dominated by the citric hop qualities.Some sweetness imparted from the alcohol and a little caramel,are there as well.This is a bad ass DIPA here,true to what it should be in my mind,not overly sweet and HUGE hops!

Photo of tectactoe
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a golden yellow color, looks very thick, lacy white head that is easy to rejuvenate with a little swirl of the glass. Smells of deep hop oils, spices, alcohol, with a tad of grapefruit and pine tree. The taste is right behind it, tasting of lots and lots and LOTS of hops, resin, pine, with just a bit of grapefruit sweetness. Lots of spice and alcohol, especially in the aftertaste. It has a bit of malt in the finish as well. Very, very high bitterness with low carbonation. Very heavy on the mouth and leaves a very sticky feeling.

Somewhat similar to Bell's Hopslam with a bit more of hops and grapefruit, sans the honey induced sweetness. A very good brew, but definitely one you have to sip.

Photo of TCHopCraver
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes on 9/8/10.

A: Pours a dark orange and gold, bordering on amber, into my snifter. A slight head vanishes immediately, leaving a spongy white film on top. The carbonation looks to be moving at a slow to medium pace. The lacing is thin and fine, like delicate handwriting with a quill and ink.

S: A load of citrus hops (mainly grapefruit) with a little bit of pine hop smell jump into my nose upfront, balanced by just enough of a caramel malt presence. I also smell a fair amount of dry biscuit and a little bit of coppery tap water.

T: Wow, that is dry, earthy hopticism. The citrus hop notes definitely shine through (although more orange than grapefruit), but this is definitely one of the drier hop profiles I have tasted in a DIPA. Like in the smell, the caramelized malts stand up to the hops, but only for a second in the middle of the sip. After that, the hops blow the face off of the malt. The aftertaste is almost the exact lasting flavor I have had on my tongue when I have eaten hops in the past.

M: Oracle is medium bodied, with a very puckering finish. The creaminess of the sweet malts graces my palate for a very short time before the bitter, earthy hops dry my palate and leave their flowery, alpha-acid goodness all over my tongue.

D: This guy is big and bitter, but that is a pleasant departure from a lot of other DIPAs that I have had. I definitely will consume more of this treat, but with some beers in between so that I can enjoy this beast anew.

Photo of brownbeer
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Blaheath for organizing this trade.

A- It's hazy bright yellowish-orange.

S- The nose is packed with tropical citrus, orange sherbert, lemon zest, and becomes more floral as it warms.

T- Fruity up front, litter box, mandarin orange and pineapple.

M- Smooth at the start and finishes bitter, bitter, bitter...

D- Not all that drinkable in my opinion. Tastes great but it's an alpha bomb. I'm really glad I got to try it.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Have been very excited for this one. Pours into my glass a brilliant reddish orange with a two finger head of creamy foam on top that leaves behind patchy lacing. Hops are there before I even bring the glass close! Huge resinous citrus, grapefruit, tropical and floral aromas burst up at you. Sweet malt backbone with candied accents. The hop oils are so bright it is like inhaling the perfume of a fresh handful of cones. Intoxicating.

First sip brings a wall of hops upfront with tropical citric tones, grapefruit along with some floral and pine notes. Flows down with sweet malts and a bit of an earthy character. Huge tongue wrenching bitterness throughout. Resinous hop oils linger on in the finish along with lasting bitterness.

Mouthfeel is dense, rich and creamy with good carbonation. A bit slick, but goes down pretty smooth. Overall, just another top notch DIPA from Bell's. I think I still might like Hopslam a bit better, but in the interim this is quite tasty. Thanks hoppymeal.

Photo of nickadams2
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A_Pours a slightly hazy,golden/amber color with a thick, sticky white head.Lots of lacing.

S_Citrus bomb. Grapefruit,pineapple,piny hops.Some alcohol heat.

T_Follows the nos. Intense citrus. Lots of pine. Lots of spruce in the finish.Alcohol burn. Awesome beer.

M_Thick,sticks to your lips. I cant stop lip smacking. So delicious.

D_Very drinkable for such a bad ass beer. Two or three and you're well on your way.

Photo of warnerry
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 8/12/11

A - Pours a clear deep copper with one finger of off-white head. Head doesn't have great retention, but leaves a sheet of lacing.

S - Big aroma of pine and grapefruit hops, along with some candied fruit. Nice amount of caramel malt and a faint alcohol presence.

T - Big grapefruit pith and resinous pine hops up front. A bit of sweetness, but bitterness predominates. Also some orange pulp and caramel malt. Very nice .

M - Medium resinous mouthfeel. A but sweet in the middle but finishes dry and bitter.

O - A very good DIPA and a nice contrast to Hopslam. I look forward to this one every year.

Photo of barhoc11
4/5  rDev -4.3%

A: Bright gold with a nice white head to it. The lacing on this beer is phenomenal.

S: Citrusy and fruity

T: Tastes a little more fruity than Hopslam and I am a little disappointed with the aftertaste.

M: Good and full

O: I think this is a good DIPA and I would recommend trying it yourself but this isn't something I would kill to have again

Photo of mverity
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Amazing color and head to this beer! Perfect golden amber with a touch of orange. Head is two full fingers high and has been staying for three full minutes so far. Aroma is wonderful as well. Tons of orange peel, lightly piney, with some mango notes as well. Five minutes and the head has a small dent in it. I haven't even taken a sip yet. First sip and I'm a bit let down from the aroma and appearance. Taste is overly hopped. Like Bell's was trying to go west coast with this beer. The sweet citrus in the aroma turns into piney sweet hops in the taste. Mouthfeel is great though, and the lacing has been wonderful.

Photo of tjthresh
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours rusty orange with a rough and clingy white head. The nose make the think of dried powdered citrus fruits, a bucket of heavily diluted Pine Sol, and tree bark. Lots of big hoppy bitter flavors, but they are not as juicy as I think IIPAs typically are. The malt character is also like dry caramel. Bitter as all hell, for sure. Dry as an old chicken bone. This is a sipping beer for sure.

Photo of merlin48
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Twelve ounce bottle pours a mostly clear golden amber body with a tall and creamy offwhite head. Retention is excellent and leaves a cap all the way to the finish. Lavish sticky lacing decorates the glass.

Aroma pounds the olfactory senses with a sledge hammer of hops. Grassy, earthy, leafy, citrusy, minty, and hempy notes all make their presence known. Not quite the cat urine hint that I got from Hopslam, but close. Softer notes of florals and ripe plums are underneath and betray a kinship with Two Hearted.

Mouthfeel is a creamy medium, with a smooth carbonation and some hop resins.

Taste is all about the hops. Sharp citrus, grassiness, leafy, floral, minty, earthy, with some pine sap underneath. A nectar like hint of honey sweetness struggles to balance the massive assault of muti-hop bitterness. Finishes with a lasting earthy and leafy bitterness. Alcohol is cleverly concealed except for some warmth at the end.

Superb effort. Seems to blend the better attributes of its kindred, Hopslam and Two Hearted, into a unique identiy of it own. A challenging DIPA that is rewarding and satisying.

Photo of Mora2000
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to RBlaszak for sending this beer to me.

The beer pours a clear yellow-orange color with a white head. The aroma is very fruit and is outstanding. I get a lot of orange, pineapple and papaya, as well as some pine notes.

The flavor is just as great. It is dominated by pineapple, pine and papaya. I also get a little bit of caramel malt. The bitterness is about medium and not too intense. The beer is full of hop flavor, but the bitterness is restrained enough that the beer is still very drinkable.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A great Double IPA that I am very happy I got to try.

Photo of Juan611
3.38/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Got this bad boy as an extra from in person trade. Have to say I was stoked. Being from SoCal, I have to say my taste is jaded. I love that piney, resin bite on the tongue but the strong malt presence is a bit of a let down. Pretty decent DIPA though.

Photo of bsp77
3.93/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Hazy honey-gold with thin white head and broken lacing.

Smell: Light citrus, light spiciness and light toasted malts - nice, but too mild for a DIPA. I hope the taste is better.

Taste: Yeah, the taste is better than the aroma, but this is still a very standard DIPA. Citrus and pine hops countered by lightly sweet toasted and caramel malts. Ends spicy and bitter, with a bit more pine.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, full body that oozes hop oils. Warming and dry. The feel is the best thing about the beer.

Drinkability: What's with the hype? This is a standard DIPA, and Hopslam is much better. In terms of more typical DIPAs, give me a Hercules any day. Still, I do like it quite a bit and it is very well made, despite the weaker aroma.

Photo of amidabha
4.4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

vigorous pour into a sam adams perfect pint produced a head a quarter inch from the lip leaving lacing down the entire glass. to be honest this beer is all about the fumes produced from the hops and it doesn't disappoint this year either.

piney, wonderful hops are expelled into my nose with a huge bit on the tongue followed by a strong alcohol bite. almost a complete lack of malt character from this beer which is great for me.

i purchased a few bottles last year and remembered to drink this faster so it stays cold and delicious. this is not necessarily a good thing since the alcohol content is so high. well worth it and probably should have accepted my beer stores offer of two bottles instead of this one.

Photo of kingcrowing
3.93/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass, batch 9306

Pours a nice hazy golden pale amber with a super nice fluffy light brown head that's very pillowy and nice looking with good lacing.

Taste very boozy and warming, the hops have faded a bit but it is still very bitter. Much less sweet than hopslam and it makes it a bit harsher on the palate, almost to the point of being cloying.

Photo of Franziskaner
3.71/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Deep golden to amber in color with a bit of haziness. A fingernail of white foam rests on top. Brussels lacing. Nice,inviting citrus and tropical hop profile. There is a deep bitter flavor with abundant citrus hops and some tropical hop notes. The citrus notes are very heavy and leave little room for light malt backbone. This is an assault on your tastebuds. The mouth is a bit sticky and chewy,but considering the strength it is actually pretty easy going.

Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%

spicy floral hop aromas, very hoppy with both spicy and bitter hop elements – obviously hopped in multiple stages. Like many American IPAs and what you would expect from a double IPA, the hops really dominate but the malt and the alcohol provide a nice balance. Bells demonstrates how to do a super hoppy beer – it has intense bitterness and almost comes off as an elixir with the alcohol almost adding to the bitterness – this is probably not a session beer but would make a nice aperitif beer for before or after dinner.

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

this is the second time I have had this beer... impressed both times, but more so tonight after trying Sam Adams Third Voyage Imperial IPA and Lagunitas Hop Stoopid IPA

poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a large tulip glass, we got a nice head that settled down to about 1/4 inch thick. Pale amber color, slightly cloudy.

the aroma on this beer is outstanding - very citrus/floral. Flavor is intense with hops.... No effort to balance the malted barley here. Sweet & slightly bitter... It's all good.

Top 20 IPA for sure.... Not sure today whether this is in my top 10 IPA's, but it is definitely worth coming back for again!

Photo of ehammond1
3.71/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle (2011)

Thanks for sharing Kgristoff!
Thanks for sharing NoSignsOfPain!

A deep, dark, auburn with orange edges. Thick, soapy off-white head forms and sticks around. Lots of lacing down the glass. A beautiful beer.

A very pleasing and pungent tropical and citrus nose. While the typical grapefruit and orange notes are here, there's a distinct apricot aroma as well. A mild aroma of grass and a touch of alcohol warmth round out the nose.

A very bitter DIPA with strong floral and pungent citrus notes. Clean finish with just a touch of alcohol warmth that reminds me of this beer's strength.

Medium to thick bodied, a touch slick with alcohol, ample carbonation.

A very bitter, very hop-forward DIPA.

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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
93 out of 100 based on 2,218 ratings.