The Oracle - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
The OracleThe Oracle

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

2,229 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,229
Reviews: 669
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 10.77%
Wants: 453
Gots: 259 | FT: 5
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: 2,229 | Reviews: 669
Photo of DMarlinJ
4.16/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

A well balanced DIPA. Straight forward on point to style but nothing that separates it from others. Overall I enjoyed it right to the finish.

Photo of SerialTicker
4.21/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Saw this on the shelf at my beer store. I was kind of stunned and went ahead and grabbed a bottle and put it in my basket. After looking at the bottling date, I put it back ... and then suddenly decided to put it back in. Bottled 8/08/14, and poured 1/18/15. $4 single.

Appearance: Hard pour gives half a finger of creamy head with a lot of lacing on the glass. The beer is a very hazy yellow-orange color. Pretty awesome looking beer if you give it a good hard pour.

Smell: A "sharp" malt sweetness... crystal malt? I get a really big sweet maltiness on the start with a then herby/grassy hop character with a fair amount of fruitiness -- I'm not sure what fruits exactly, but I wouldn't call it tropical or grapefruity like Hopslam is by Bell's. Now that I think about it, it's sort of like a lemon tea kind of aroma. It's probably safe to assume that this beer's aroma now isn't quite what it was when it was first bottled, but I really enjoy that sugary sweet malt with the hops.

Taste/feel: Pretty awesome, surprisingly ... and this bottle is over five months old. That sweet, inviting aroma is a bit misleading, because this one packs a nice wallop of bitterness. On the front it's a little sweet, but as it goes down, it gets more bitter, and there's a pretty significant drying bitterness by the time the aftertaste comes. That lemon tea sort of flavor (all I can really explain it as) is what I'm really liking about this beer... that and the slight spiciness and bitterness makes The Oracle quite the gem. There is a little bit of alcohol in the flavor, but that's not especially uncommon in a DIPA that's 10%. The mouth feel is moderate-to-full with a not-too-intense carbonation.

This beer is a completely different animal than Hopslam, which of course, is Bell's other well-known 10% ABV DIPA. Hopslam is sweet all-around and has a tropical fruit kind of vibe, while The Oracle has a very high level of bitterness and a completely different hop profile. I'd really like to try this beer fresh to see the hops shine like Bell's intended them to, but I'm not sure how much brighter they could be, even in this "old" bottle. Ideally I'd like a bit more balance from The Oracle, but it is still a delicious beer.

Photo of JGam115
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Juicy orange, fluffy white foam. Wet danky hops, lightly candied oranges, ripe pineapple, booze. Oofa packs a punch.

Photo of IPAGeorge
4.17/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a tulip from a bottle

A. Pours a hazy orange color with a white fluffy head. Nice lacing

S. A nice piney aroma with sweet caramel malts.

T. Again a nice piney flavor with sweet caramel malts.
Mild bitterness with a green leaf grassy note.

M. Medium body with nice carbonation.

O. A nice beer. Some good balance and feel. Enjoyable. Malt forward if you like that. Would drink again.

Photo of PorterLambic
3.96/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a clear orange color with an off-white head, decently sized and with good retention for the style. Lacing is of the sheeting variety.
Smell is weak though notes of malt, citrus and hops are discernible, if just barely.
Taste is malty, grapefruit hops, grass, a touch of wood. Balance is very good.
Exceedingly dry from the instant it touches your lips, warming, too. As smooth as you could expect of a DIPA. Lightly carbonated and medium-bodied. Well worth the search.

Photo of cultclassic89
3.81/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

This would probably be better fresh. Almost five months old now.

Photo of BeerMan3320
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Smooth

Photo of kojevergas
3.26/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

BOTTLE: 12 fl oz. Brown glass. Appealing classy label art. Branded pry-off pressure cap.

Brewed 08/08/14 - well within Bell's 6 month timeframe. Expectations are high; this is currently #20 on the Top 50 Michigan list. 10% ABV. Served cold into a Jester King goblet. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated. Reviewed live as a DIPA per the label.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: One finger wide. White colour. Nice creaminess. Good frothiness. Nice thickness. Has an appealing smooth, even consistency and a soft complexion. Leaves light consistent lacing on the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Retention: average - about 2 minutes.

BODY: Murky orange-copper of average vibrance. Translucent and glowing. Nontransparent. Clean; no yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Overall, it's a nice looking imperial IPA but isn't unique or special.

AROMA: Fruity. Peach, apricot, ripened fruit, pale malts, floral hop character, more tropical pineapple hop character (a note I've never liked in beer), citrusy zest, and some tropical mango. Hints of grapefruit are present, but I don't get grapefruit's signature dominance or punch. Tangerine. A kiss of pine. Grassiness. Caramalts. Mild resinous character.

Overall, it's a fresh ripe fruity aroma with plenty of interesting hop character, but it could be juicier, and the tropical leanings have me worried...I usually prefer a more citrusy, piney, resinous hop character. Nevertheless, it's pleasant and inviting. Above average in strength, with no overt booziness. Critically, the hop bitterness seems well tamed by the pale malts. I hope the taste is as balanced as the aroma.

No yeast character or off-notes are detectable.

TASTE: Loads of hop character: floral hops, some pine, tangerine citrus and accompanying zest, mango, peach, boozy orange, and hints of grapefruit. To balance the bitterness from all those hops, it employs a bit too much caramalt, which makes it overly sweet and lends it a boozy undercurrent. The pale malt foundation gets lost in the mix. I do pick up on the dreaded pineapple hop note, unfortunately. I'd like a juicier more resinous and more citrusy hop emphasis, but this isn't bad.

While I do find it fundamentally imbalanced, I think it's decently built. Nice depth of flavour. Average flavour duration and intensity for the style. It boasts plenty of complexity, but it's not enough to truly compete the big dogs in the style. And there isn't much nuance or subtlety here; it commits to a lot of big flavours without regard for fine-tuning or intricacy.

MOUTHFEEL: Smooth, wet, creamy, soft enough, and fairly refreshing. But the booziness holds it back, and it does have a thick heavy feel on the palate, with a somewhat overbearing presence. Full-bodied. Coating.

Overall, the warmth of the mouthfeel coupled with the tropical fruit from the taste lends this brew a booze-soaked fruit vibe which isn't all that pleasant. This texture is a decent companion to the taste, but fails to elevate the beer.

Overcarbonated.

Not oily, gushed, hot, astringent, harsh, or rough.

OVERALL: It's too boozy to be all that drinkable, but I'll enjoy working my way through it. With a myriad of superior beers in the style available on shelves, I wouldn't pick up The Oracle again, but I'm glad I tried it once. Bell's own Hopslam is a much better (and even more balanced) brew, and this veers too far into tropical hop territory for my personal tastes. The boozy pineapple really turns me off to this, and the overdone caramalt sweetness is equally problematic.

Huge thanks to Duff27 for the bottle!

High C+

Photo of beatenbyjacks
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Wow was this a hop bomb. lots and lots of hops. oh and quite boozy, but delicious. wish it masked the ABV a bit more, but it was still a great beer.

Photo of Tex_hex
4.16/5  rDev -0.5%

Bottled 8/8 poured into a breakroom snifter. Pours a medium copper color with very thin foam on top. Aroma notes of caramel citrus and booze. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and a little syrupy. At first it's malty, bready and sweet (almost reminiscent of hopslam), followed by the punch of the citrus and heat on the back end. Pretty damn well balanced in my opinion. I read some reviews saying it had too much heat but I wouldn't say it's more than usual for a high abv dipa like this. Maybe it's because I waited a little while before drinking (I promised a good friend I'd wait til he came to town to share). Overall, this is a pretty nice offering from bells. Unfortunately I didn't try the first go 'round of oracle for comparison but I will drink this again without hesitation.

Photo of MartzMimic
3.91/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours from the bottle a light copper with about a finger of head. It dissipates quickly, leaving a small layer of foam on top. Not much of an aroma, just a bit of malt and caramel. Malt is definitely the first thing you taste, then vanilla, caramel, turning to citrus then - Wham! - the hops and booze kick in. Lots of piney bitterness coats the tongue. And plenty of burn. Medium mouth that's a touch oily. Definitely not your typical DIPA, but it's pretty good.

Photo of arizcards
4.21/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a sixer from Total Wine at the end of August for $17.99. Bottled. on 8/8/14.

Beer poured orange with a good white head that is leaving some lacing behind.

Nose is pungent with citrusy hops.

Taste is grapefruit rind and pine. Malt base has to be big but there must be a boat load of alpha hops as this is an abrasive bitter beer true to the west coast style. Finish is pretty dry.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied but relatively speaking has good carbonation as feels like a nice fresh ipa.

Overall this is a very smackable brew that is very true to the west coast style. Very nice!

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 Tilly
3.83/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Hazy golden. Sticky lacy head. Bread, pear, black cherry, hoppy bitter. 12oz bottle. It was a pleasure to sample

Photo of tillmac62
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

BOD 8/8/14. Pours a clear light amber with a touch of dark ruby making it a bit darker than golden. Very nice head with exceptional lacing and retention. Very nice nose of pine, grapefruit, tropical and a somewhat dank hop note over a caramel sweetness that also has a hint of spice. Medium body with a rich oily slick texture. Above average carbonation with a nice effervescent finish. The flavor profile is complex and fairly well balanced given the 10% alcohol content. It begins as a blend of hop flavors, mostly dank with grapefruit and pine notes, that slowly yield to the tropicals as a blended biscuit/caramel sweetness sneaks in. The sweetness fades into a mild bitterness which has a dank and slightly spicy note. As the bitterness fades, alcohol is noted, but not excessively so. The finish is slightly sweet with a nice alcohol burn on the back of the throat. Better than the Mars offering which lacks balance and fails to cover the alcohol well.

Photo of BeerDawgs
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

A 12oz bottle with a bottled on date of 8.29.14. Picked up at Greens on Buford Hwy Sep 2014 with a 2 bottle limit

A - Bronze and golden, 1 finger of head, sticky lace all over the glass. This is the perfect example of an IPA!

A - Citrus and piny hops. Huge aroma. Nice

T - Hoppy! Bitter, and citrus evenly balanced. Bitter aftertaste, but nothing like west coast. Incredibly delicious

M - Light bodied, smooth

O - An Awesome DIPA. Bells knows IPAs. Period. Well done! Drink it if you can find it

Photo of cjgiant
4.6/5  rDev +10%

Review after initial rating (fall, 2013:4.25 straight rating). Bottle date 08/08/2014:
I had this about a year ago and really enjoyed it. I was still experiencing the cast array of good craft beers, was more of a ticker, and figured I'd be able to get it more often (I had yet to really understand seasonal brews). I can't believe I turned down a chance back then to get more of it.

A: almost perfect translucent-to-hazy golden orange. Beautiful foamy head grows nicely and sticks around. The lacing is copious on this one. (5)

S: nose is a tad grainy, but sweetness is honey in nature. I actually expected more hops in the nose, but maybe it's a bit list after 2 months. What I get is more floral than fruity, more meadow than farm, but distinguishing the scents is hard (3.75)

T: classic grapefruit rind and pine IPA to me. Bitter from the get go, even for a DIPA. There is an underlying sweetness that I usually like more up front, but works for me in this beer just fine. The sweetness is more raw sugar-based to me than any beer I've had before, but again, isn't the focus of the taste. This is more dry hop-bomb, west coast-ish in nature. The combination maybe brings some tropical hints, but I feel I am stretching a bit on this. (4.25-4.5)

M: very smooth, carbonation obvious in appearance is just there to enhance otherwise dry feel. Body is medium, alcohol is pretty well hidden (4.75)

O: this did live up to my anticipation even if it didn't exceed it. Given how that usually works, that's a win. A bit more bitterness than I expected (I really didn't recall the taste profile, just that I liked it), but well done to me as I have grown away from this profile over the year. (4.5)

Photo of orcrist_cleaver
4.36/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Medium golden amber to lighter orange hazy tint. Superior 2 finger, foam like head that last 5+minutes and contributes good lacing.

S: Very enticing blend of sour and sweet. Lots of tropical fruit. Guava pound cake, pineapple, orange. Some earthy and mildew musk.

M: Fuller bodied, quite dry, medium carbonation. Warming alcohol

T: Pine needles, caramel, bready malt, grapefruit, citrus pith. Good bitter punch, mostly herbal. Brandy-like alcohol components, fully fermented apricots and pear

Photo of Jeff-Grant
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Fantastic another great beer by bells

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 hophead_87
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

More balanced than MARS. I really enjoyed this.

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 Roguer
3.24/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.25

Slightly hazy, just enough to keep it from transparency. Orange amber brew topped by a nice flat white head with decent retention, and very nice lacing.

Huge caramel malt and brown sugar aroma, with a slight hint of stale cardboard sneaking in. Bottled 48 days ago, so freshness really shouldn't be that big a factor.

Flavor follows: big, malty DIPA, with a huge emphasis on caramel (and pale) malts, a touch of brown sugar, straw, and grainy bread. Beer is hugely bitter with little in the way of hop flavor. Pine definitely stands out, and some non-specific citric acid. It doesn't really hit as stale; it hits as drily malty.

Mouthfeel is fine; beer is very lively, with little sting, and despite the very high ABV, there's only a tinge of heat on the very back-end.

I don't quite get the hype. It's impressively bitter, and some malt-forward DIPAs work out well, but this one doesn't have enough sweetness to carry that task.

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 spacebear09
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Appearance- Golden, well carbonated brew with a small head but good lacing

Smell- Cotton candy, pineapple

Taste- Massive grapefruit, lemon, mango, finishes very dry and slightly astringent. Cloying sweetness and a little pill bitterness. Biscuity malt profile that is barely detectable.

Mouthfeel- Crisp and tangy

Overall- Good but not my favorite.

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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
93 out of 100 based on 2,229 ratings.