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Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

The Oracle - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
The OracleThe Oracle

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

699 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 699
Hads: 2,359
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 9.76%
Wants: 452
Gots: 322 | FT: 8
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 699 | Hads: 2,359
Photo of merlin48
4.62/5  rDev +10%
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. (1,110 characters)

Photo of Bierguy5
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, batch 9306. Pours. Hazy bright orange to copper color. Thick, fluffy white head. Great head retention. Nice patches of lace coating the sides of the glass.

Bursting with hop aroma. I can smell it from the other side of the room. Loads of grapefruit, pine, and a variety of tropical fruits like pineapple and mango. You can get a whiff of sweet malt. Or perhaps that is wishful thinking. Bold and juicy aroma, hard to imagine it could be any better.

Things begin with a good dose of sweet malt. Not much caramel, but there is some depth. Bitter grapefruit comes next. Things dry out a bit in the middle with some tropical fruit and an aspirin edge. Bitterness lingers forever on the palate. A ghost-like second wave of tropical fruit comes and goes like a flash. Or is it my tongue dying?

Medium body, carbonation seems good. Maybe a hint of warming alcohol, but not much. This was very drinkable, even with the full assault of hops. Another great one from bells. Very enjoyable! (995 characters)

Photo of biggred1
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Jo from WCB for hooking me up with this sample bottle.

Hazed honey amber with a creamy eggshell cap that leaves sheets of sticky lace behind on the glass. This beer smells about as good as any I've ever encountered. Pineapple and citrus fruity hops with pine sap and caramel malt all in perfect harmony. This beer tastes ridiculously good as well, maybe even as good as fresh hopslam with resinous and potent hops up front with a smooth caramel malty backbone. Alcohol is well hidden for such a big beer. Medium full bodied and hop oily feeling with smooth carbonation. This beer is dangerously drinkable at 10+ ABV. A beer that is truly as good as advertised. Fantastic. (687 characters)

Photo of DaveHack
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated 8/12/11. Served at 52 degrees, should've been just a bit colder.

This beer is beautiful. Dark golden color, surprisingly there is very little head.
The smell is fantastic, if just a tiny bit muted. Piney, with a bit of citrusy fruit. It smells great, but seems a little subdued, if that makes sense.
Deliciously bitter upfront, followed by a smooth malty, citrusy finish
I'm feeling this is prety thick as far as DIPAs go. Not overly so, but definately on the chewier side.
Overall, I'm digging it! Does Bell's make a bad beer?? If so I haven't found it yet, BM me if you find one. Cheers! (608 characters)

Photo of callmemickey
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cracked open a bottle of the Oracle for the start of football season today. Go Eagles! Thanks to iii9ix3 for the trade.

A: Hazy burnt orange-amber body. Thick creamy off-white head which quickly receded to a nice skim. Sheet like lacing up and down the glass.

S: Dank, pine and grapefruit centered hops. Pungent and inviting. Could smell the hops from arms-length when I popped the bottle cap off. Sweet candi-malts do not hide themselves.

T: Refreshingly bitter. The hops in this brew are incredibly fresh and concentrated. The grapefruit-citrus notes take the forefront as the pine and floral notes pick up towards the back of each sip. The phenomenal element of this beer is the massive malt taste which manages to not detract from the hops one bit, but instead, serves them up on silver platter to be savored. I think this is what every "balanced" east coast double IPA would like to be. Massive, yet refined.

M: Smooth. Medium bodied. Nice carbonation levels out of the bottle. The finish has a nice bite and is very crisp. The bitterness lingers on the tongue as it is quite resinous.

D: Superb. A little thicker than most dIPAs of this caliber and the ABV feels somewhat high. Otherwise it would easily be a 5. (1,222 characters)

Photo of Pedro07
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed a single seeing as limited a brew this is.

A: Poured into a regular pint glass. Great look. Oberon-ish glowing color, slightly hazy color (love haze!). Wonderful head, rather light colored. Great clinging lace.

S: Wow, lots of citrus, not a whole load of grass but rather orange-rind. Good hops!

T: Mmmm, citrus. I shouldn't have read reviews on this one before trying it, but I did. Someone earlier described it as "Oberon on steroids"....YES. This beer's been in the gym for a while and I like it. It actually has a sweet citrus taste after it warms some! Moderate bitterness in the back/finish...enough to let you know it's been lifting "hop" iron.

M: Very pleasant. Actually smooth while being delightfully carbonated. As in most heavy pale's or IPA's, it's mouth coating.

D: Yeah, I could have a few of these. High five Larry and team!! (858 characters)

Photo of atsprings
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was worried that I had missed my opportunity to try this beer this year. The few stores in my area that got some in sold out almost immediately. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Flying Saucer had got some bottles of it as well. 12oz bottle into a tulip glass pours a slightly hazy orange with a thin khaki head that diminishes to a thin layer and leaves decent lacing on the glass. Aroma is nice fragrant floral citrus hops in front of caramel malts. The taste is loads of citrus hops alongside a nice amount of sweet caramel malts. The beer is on the heavy side of medium with a slight dryness smoothing things out. This is a very enjoyable DIPA, one I was very glad to get to try and one I will certainly have again. (726 characters)

Photo of aerozeppl
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to mikesgroove for this one.

A: Deep copper color with two fingers of white head after the pour. The head settling down had lacing. Really sticky lacing. Perfect pour for a DIPA.

S: The nose is nothing short of scrumtrilescent. Huge blast of citrus. Pineapple. Mango. Just an in your face hop blast. You do actually get a nice bit of malt as well.

T: Wow. Tons of citrus. Very west coast in nature. Pineapple is leading the charge. Has that sweetness that comes from an insane amount of hope and a big ABV beer. A little bit of booze is detectable but that is ok by me.

M: Mouthfeel is full and sticky. Creamy. It is everything you want in a DIPA.

D: I split the 12oz bottle and am regretting it already. This is going down in record time. Stupid drinkability for the ABV. It is expensive but it is also good. I would grab this when I was feeling saucy and needed a serious hop fix. (894 characters)

Photo of jera1350
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Holiday1072 for this outstanding brew.

Pours a foggy golden burnt orange into a snifter. Nice fluffy head with lots of tiny cascading bubbles adding to the mix. Lacing all over the place.

Outstanding smell. Like a bushel of extremely ripe pineapples just split open. Sweet and juicy, I can't wait to taste it!

Wow, this is packed with flavor. Huge and sweet, the bitter hops catch the attention right off the bat. Plenty of sweet malt to add backbone. Good amount of alcohol is present. Lots of citrus and pineapple. Grapefruit finishes it off.

Medium bodied, smooth with plenty of tiny bubbles in the carbonation the keep flavors rolling on the palate. Very juicy feel.

I call this an Imperial HopSlam. Simply amazing. A must have for every hophead. Bell's knows how to use hops probably better than any other brewery. Great beer! (846 characters)

Photo of timc100
4.61/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bright hazy golden orange with a beautiful dense, clinging, retention crazy head. The aroma is not incredibly pungent, but there are some great things going on - great example of no coast DIPA - astringent overripe pineapple, lemon zest, sharp orange citrus and a great malt backbone - sweet bready malts. Taste is huge! Very bitter and astringent. Coats the mouth completely - full bodied for the style and very smooth. Pungent overripe citrus and tropical fruits play off a sweat biscuit malt base. Fantastic midwest IPA! (531 characters)

Photo of brewtus
4.61/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured 12 oz into teku. Bottled 8/8/13

A-pours pretty clear orange, single finger white head
S- breads, pine resin, lots of citrus, some bubblegum, some herb that I can't put my finger on
T- honey, deep piney hops, grapefruit, lemon, tastes so fresh, almost no malt caricature. Bitter hop finish
M- as expected, slightly thicker than your usual ipa
O- very very good, piney and citrusy just like I love my dipas. Great west past style, and way different then hopslam and not worth comparing. If you can find it grab a couple bottles. Glad I lucked into this single, the smell is just amazing (593 characters)

Photo of heliosphann
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle picked up at the Eccentric Cafe. Batch 9306. Served in a pint glass while enjoying Labor Day at a friends house in Ann Arbor.

A: Finger of creamy marshmallow head which hangs around for some time. Pours like a radiant sunburst. There is plenty of active carbonation and lacing is superb for a DIPA.

S: Sweet crushed pineapple, mango, oranges and bouquet of other tropical fruits. Some piney hops round out the enticing aroma.

T: Juicy tropical fruit sweetness hits right off the bat. Followed by big resinous, tongue biting pine heavy hops. Now this is the freshness! Along with the 110 IBU bitter finish, I get a little bit of heat, but it's pretty insignificant considering the ABV.

M: Medium body. A little chewy, but in a good way. Carbonation is just right for a DIPA.

D: For a DIPA clocking in at over 10%, this is one drinkable brew. I could easily kill a few of these back-to-back.

Another fantastic creation by Larry Bell and co. Right up there with Big Head and Hopslam when at their peak. Speaking freshness, I think The Oracle might be a little too fresh? It'll be interesting in a month or two to see if the hops calm down some. That was the only thing holding me back from giving The Oracle a 5/5 for taste. Either way it's still an amazing brew. Word from Larry is we might see this distributed widely next year. I hope that's the case for all the hopheads out there! (1,403 characters)

Photo of SpdKilz
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to kzoobrew for this great extra from trading. Cheers buddy!

Appearance - Pours a beautiful hazy copper/dark amber color with over a finger of white fluffy head. As the foam slowly dissipates, it leaves great looking lacing. I'm pretty excited to try this.

Smell - Wow, amazing. Passion fruit, tangerines, and oranges. It smells amazing. This is followed by a mellow yet strong (oxymoron?) hop and piney aroma. Holy cow my mouth is watering in anticipation.

Taste - A bit malty up front followed by some bitter hop taste and ending on an extremely smooth note. I taste grapefruit, tangerines, oranges, etc. This honestly has an utterly amazing flavor and smell to it. I keep sniffing it then taking a nice long sip. I am enjoying this to its fullest.

Mouthfeel - Moderate mouthfeel with decent carbonation. It feels thick, oily, and overall dense...which is a good thing.

Drinkability - I can't believe this is a 10+ abv beer. I feel I may have had this beer a bit after the "crazy" hoppiness as some have described (or maybe I'm just use to West Coast hoppy beers) but this was not a massive hop bomb by any means. This was an extremely balance, utterly amazing smelling and tasting DIPA. This is a DAMN good DIPA. I am thoroughly enjoying this right now and will most definitely search for these when I am in the Midwest. Bravo. (1,348 characters)

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ditmier provided this at a tasting a while back... Big thanks Eric!! Another that I wanted to try and trade for, but was too broke when it was out in circulation... reviewed from paper notes.

White head.. great lacing.. pale hazy golden/orange.

Aroma is fantastic.. Nose hair coating American hops... huge pine and only slightly less citrus zest.

The Oracle begins and ends with huge bitterness ... in between there is a mild toasty maltiness that is crushed by pithy citrus hops and resinous pine... Near perfect body and carbonation... Simply verging on perfection.... I must try this as soon as it is released next time... The short time from the release to my palate was too long.

Thanks again Eric... Remarkable DIPA that I never would have guessed came from any place other than the West Coast.

4.5/4.5/5/4.5/4 (821 characters)

Photo of nlmartin
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The beer was served chilled in an Imperial Pint glass.

Appearance: The beer has a very nice clear coppery orange coloration. The head has a pancake batter coloration. Speaking of pancakes the beer leaves an almost pancake batter lacing on my glass. Great head retention that stands up to my manly mustache.

Smell: Very resinous pine combines with grapefruit marmalade and covers a bit of caramel biscuit maltyness.

Taste: The hops really bite me on the lip. What can I say it warms my cold heart. I am really digging the pine resin hops. The grapefruit vias with the alcohol almost vodka and juice style. Caramel biscuit malt peaks its head out but gets slammed by hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability: The mouthfeel of the beer is medium. The alcohol is a bit hot but I think it works well. The hops are very forward and aggressive. No balance to be found and really non wanted. This was a beer that should have taken a bit more time to drink but I couldnt stop myself. Very tasty and well made. Man I wish I had more. (1,028 characters)

Photo of BBP
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Burnt orange with great carbonation and a thin, yet resilient head which lasted the length of the drink.

S- Hops, citrus, some malts, and some booziness.

T- Hops are very upfront, and balanced incredibly by the malt. Grapefruit is all over this one, and really shines in the aftertaste. Some pine notes as well and as some caramel notes. I love how much they could cram into the flavor while maintaining balance between everything.

M- Full bodied, and quite creamy while at the same time being just a little bit sticky and dry.

D- This is an DIPA which has a lot of taste too it, but is very easy to drink at the same time. Somewhat scary how easy it is to drink this. I almost felt like my review had a countdown on it because I wanted another sip right after the last.

The alcohol sadly was slightly noticable though, I got little hints of it after some sips, and on one hand I'm glad it's there, to slow me down a bit from chugging this delicious brew back, but on the other hand it took away from the taste slightly. Removing that would have probably secured a "5" in the taste catergory. I think it's acceptable for all the taste they fit in.

Prime example of a DIPA, and I will have it again if I can. (1,219 characters)

Photo of nandemo1
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear gold with a giant cascading white head, definitely 2+ fingers. Head settled out over time and left a lot of sticky lacing.

Smells heavily of piney hops with some sweet citrus notes. Taste is also very piney but not overly bitter. Alcohol is present me up as I get through the glass.

Feels medium bodied with decent carbonation. Very smooth but a little hot at times. (382 characters)

Photo of brew3crew
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-pours a hazy yellow with minimum head.
S-more malt than hops. It is slowly fading with age
T-very malty the hops have faded alot and only a faint resemblaNce of what it was.
M-kind of dry and not very good.
D-down quickly. Not bad

This stuff was world class on top of its game. Now with a little bit of age on it. My ratings are from notes while the actual review is from the aged bottle. Do not age it. (407 characters)

Photo of webmanspidey
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into small chalice... a dark golden color with a solid inch or two of head. Aroma is a nice mix of hops and honey, slight pine. Taste is filled with intense hops.. this is one of the most bitter beers you'll try. This has a fairly high alcohol presence. The ABV is not on the bottle and hasn't been listed here yet but I'd guess it's got to be around 10%. Medium to full mouthfeel, but this is not one of those thick, heavy on the malt type IPAs. Pure hops here, and I'd say this is pretty comparable to HopSlam.

EDIT: Tried another after trying fresh HopSlam and I definitely think this is by far the better of the two. (635 characters)

Photo of K-Dog
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Perfect golden cooper color with a rich fantastic aroma. Taste is about as good as it gets for an ipa. Hopslam and Oracle are at the game when it comes to dipas. There might be a few better but not many. (205 characters)

Photo of Spica66
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Light amber with excellent head formation and retention. Lots of lacing.

S: Wonderful Centennial hops are the star of the show. The malt is there, but only in a supporting role.

T: Bready malt at first, then the hops take over in a huge way! This tastes like Two Hearted's giant brother!! Really citrusy and slightly piney. The only DIPA I have had that tasted more balanced is Pliny the Elder.

M: Full-bodied and very smooth and round. the alcohol warms the chest. You know you are drinking a big beer.

D: My hangover the next day was testament to the easy way these went down the hatch! (595 characters)

Photo of MNBeerGeek
4.59/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This is my kind of IPA. Delicious hop bomb with some malt to balance it out. Pours a nice clear honey color. Not quite a one finger head that dissipates pretty quickly. Great lacing sticks to the glass. Smells very citrusy and resiny. The malt I'd rather hidden in the aroma. A hint of grassiness that ties it all together. Actually quite grassy as it warms. Great fresh citrus flavor. Bitter pine. Lemons possibly. Nice malt comes through in the finish without being sweet. Mouthfeel is full but nicely carbonated. Overall, damn this is a delicious IPA. Wasn't sure what to expect, but wow. Hop bomb meets nice malt balance meets superb drinkability. The 10% ABV is nicely hidden. (681 characters)

Photo of StrongAleSkeptic
4.59/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm stoked this has finally arrived in AZ!
A - Pours a light amber hue with abundant head of various sized bubbles. Settles nicely but retains a thick film of head, lacing heavily on the glass of the tulip.
S - Complex bouquet of floral and piny hops. Citrus and pine resins dominate the aroma character with a subtle light roasted malt backbone. Clean light grain notes interspersed.
T - Soft and warm bitterness intensifies into a complexity of hops. There a touch of citrus, mango, stone fruit mingled with a resiny pine and earthy tone. Domineering residual bitterness is slow to fade after the sip, with a spiciness that lingers on the palate. Very well balanced against the final gravity. Tinge of sweetness that is whisked away in wonderful hop nectar.
M - Warm, wet mouthfeel with a heavier-medium body. Still quite quaffable. Smooth as can be with just a faint hint at the attenuation capacity in the warmth.
O - I have been waiting quite some time to try this after finally falling in love with hopslam five-ish years ago. I had the pleasure of working with a few people from Michigan who couldn't stop raving about this offering. I can finally say it did not disappoint and exceeded expectation. Warm and smooth all around with an intense hop backbone that is still able to tip the scales at such a high gravity. (1,325 characters)

Photo of Extrajoker00
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Quick review from notes Michigan Brewer's Guild summer festival 7/25/2015: This beer had been on my want list for over 2 or 3 years. Bells reputation is upheld, as good as I'd hoped (181 characters)

Photo of clint1019
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Golden color with a thick cream colored head that sticks to the glass and leaves some nice lacing.

S - Big, Big, Big citrusy, piney hop aroma.

T - Has a nice sweet malt taste up front and a blast of hop bitterness on the back.

M - Medium bodied and full of carbonation that dances across the tongue.

O - Damn this is a fine beer. My mouth is still tingling from all those hops. Will definitely look for this one again next year and would definitely recommend to anyone who loves hops. (492 characters)

The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
93 out of 100 based on 699 ratings.