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The Oracle - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
The OracleThe Oracle

Educational use only; do not reuse.

718 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 718
Hads: 2,444
Avg: 4.18
pDev: 19.62%
Wants: 456
Gots: 345 | FT: 11
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: 718 | Hads: 2,444
Photo of brian44556
3.71/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 12oz bottle into Stone Tulip. Packaged 8/12/11.

Pours a very hazy, amber color with a half-finger, frothy white head. Thick lacing left on the sides of the glass. Smell notes of orange peels, pineapples, grapefruit, and bready malts. Taste notes of grapefruit, orange peels, and sweet malts. This one is crazy bitter from the hops and somewhat balanced out by the sweet malt flavor. A hophead's dream! Mouthful is fine and beer is well carbonated. Overall a decent beer. I bought 14 singles of this and will not have a problem drinking them. A few steps behind its brother HopSlam, but nonetheless a decent DIPA.

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Photo of chinchill
3.73/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 fl oz. bottle with a bottling date of 10 July 2015.

The off-white head is exceptionally creamy, holds up well, and leaves plenty of sticky lacing on the glass. The body is hazy amber-copper.

Aroma: Chiefly fruity hops with some faint floral notes but no sign of malt. Misleadingly suggests a sweet and tart flavor. Gets more complex upon warming.

Taste: loads of hops, including citrus, floral and pine notes. A bit boozy with hints of tangerine peel, apricots and oranges. Moderate-high bitterness but with some sweetness and without a complete overload of bitter grapefruit peel in the aftertaste.

Overall: fine example of the DIPA style.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.73/5  rDev -10.8%

Bottle purchased at Nathaniel Square Corner Store in Rochester, NY.

Pours a dark orange, with a half inch head, and a lot of lacing.

Smells quite floral and piney, with a bit of grapefruit. No malt is noticed.

The taste is the same- incredibly piney and floral, just smacks you over the head with hop flavors. It's exceedingly bitter, almost to the point of a problem. The bitterness overwhelms any other flavors that might have been intended by the brewer. There's a bit of sweet syrupy malt flavor. No alcohol is present that I can tell.

This one has a fairly big, sweet syrupy body and mouthfeel, with a medium amount of carbonation. A bit of a slow sipper.

Not the best DIPA I've had, there are a few problems here.

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Photo of marcpal
3.73/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First review in a while and had to given the high expectations for this and having traded for a four-pack.

I have had the lovely Hopslam and it is among my favorite, have had the Big Head SD style by Bells and loved it, but this did not meet my high hopes.

I thought the first could have been due to the beat up bottles that came in the trade but the second had a similar taste. It wasnt't skunked or anything, just overdone and not well mapped out in my opinion.

A: Poured into oversized Portsmouth brewing goblet. Dark orange color with a nicely capped head and serious lacing for such a high test brew. Nice start.

S: Citrusy and earthy hops but the burn of the alcohol resides right in the nose. The smell is nice but not anything that would leave me drooling (see the great Hopslam)

T: Nice hit of bitterness florally in the front but that kind of gives way a bit too easily. More bitterness dissipates in the finish but not drinking like a true imperial. Mango and pineapple are the high points for sure but the overly sweet malt backbone didn't do wonders for these guys.

M: Pretty darn thick with not much lingering bitterness. The sweetness came through more than one would hope and would have asked for some more chew.

D: I will surely finish and enjoy the rest of the pack, it was not worth the trade. It may not be fair to compare directly to Hopslam and SD style, but thats what Im doing and this doesnt match up.

Thanks Brewdan for the chance.

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Photo of glazeman
3.73/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at the Michigan Brewer's Guild tasting: reviewed from notes

A: Dark amber in color with an off white head that had excellent retention

S: This one smelled fairly medicinal to me, with the hop notes being some sort of mixture of floral grapes and a little bit of pine

T: The taste was a tad sweet to start and bitter at the finish. Not much citrus in this beer, but some pine was definitely noticeable. Not my favorite tasting DIPA.

M: A little above average for the category with a nice mouthfeel and appropriate level of carbonation.

D: Something about the taste, causes me to not really be attracted to this beer. It's somewhat plain and not as interesting as I would have liked. The flavors don't sit well enough on the tongue to have me wanting more. With all that said, it really isn't a bad beer though.

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Photo of jwerner23
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

I think this beer has potential but isn't quite there. It is a little too hot right now, maybe with a couple more weeks of aging it will mellow the alcohol flavor out a little. I think it is a good beer don't get me wrong but just a little too much alcohol flavor right now. The weird thing though was the first couple drinks were very good, but then the hotness of the alcohol started showing up. I will come back to this in a couple weeks when I let a couple bottles age a little.

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Photo of BigMike
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured an amber color. Almost apple juice like. A thin Khaki head of about one finger tops it off.

S: Very piney and tropical with a big alcohol presence.

T: I can sum this up in one word...HOPS. Huge tropical fruit notes. Dominated by pineapple. The alcohol is there big time as well. Lot's of burn on the finish and extremely bitter.

M: No complaints here. Medium bodied with good carbonation.

Overall: Not the best DIPA i've had. In fact, it's not the best DIPA Bell's produces. (Hopslam) But it's decent and will punch you in the mouth with aggresive hops and alcohol. If you can get it, it's worth trying for sure.

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Photo of HopHunter19
3.77/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

7/2/2015 bottle - this was at one of my favorite local stores and I'm not sure why the distribution took so long with this one, having taken 2 1/2 months to get from Michigan to SW Missouri.

A - nice golden, clear beer, white fluffy head that leaves nice lacing
S - Clean hoppy smell, pine, grapefruit, orange peel
T - Again this beer has a very clean taste, with the hops being mostly piney and grapefruit flavors, with some light fruits in there
M - light-medium, alc covered, aftertaste is piney hops
O - I didn't get as much fruit character as some people who have reviewed this seem to be getting, but at 2 1/2 months out I'd expect that this isn't a completely fair review. I'm not sure why it took 2 1/2 months for a beer like this to make the 12 hour drive from MI to MO, but either way I gotta knock a few points off for the slow distro. I hope it doesn't take 3 months to transport HopSlam to MO this winter!

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Photo of PVMT
3.77/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Aroma is pine, with hints of citrus and caramel. Taste is piney with a matching malt backbone, that gets increasingly bitter. The finish is bitter, bordering on unpleasant.

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Photo of Omnium
3.77/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle > Sensory PIls glass
A - Pours a very nice gold color 1 finger of a fizzy head, nice thick lacing on the sides.
S - Big juicy hops, pineapple, mango, citrus, pine, rye, pepper, caramel and toffee malts. There's also a strong alcohol presence.
T - Big lime and grapefruit flavors, those are definitely the dominant qualities in this, then you get some overly ripe tropical fruits, kinda like fruit cocktail, the mid way through you get some caramel and toffee kinda sweet malts, a little pepper and rye underneath, some pine bitterness that sneaks up then really gets you. Some alcohol burn on the end.
M - Thick, chewy, lots of abrasive bitterness, cloying flavor.
O - This does get better as it warms up, it reminds me a lot of Great Lakes' Lake Erie Monster with the abundance of ripe fruit flavor, but the alcohol burn and smell is too much, and there's a weird rye peppery aftertaste thats just making it disappointing.

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Photo of Nachojon
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Thick foamy head, lace coats glass throughout.

S- Smooth caramel. Some hops and lemon peel.

T- MADNESS. Almost medicinal, bandaid piney hops and warm booze with a brown sugar finish. Like no IPA i have ever tasted.

M- Sticky but not unpleasant. Smooth and dense at the same time.

O- I don't know if one pour does this thing justice, would love to try again.

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Photo of maximum12
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks chipped in the direction of notCreative for smuggling a few bottles out of Michigan & dropping them with me here in the Cities. Thanks Matt.

Pour is a nearly opaque orange with little head, but what exists is clingy as a bad girlfriend. Smell is a psychic kick of citrus & grapefruit, with something strange & dank lurking underneath. Odd.

Comparisons with HopSlam are perhaps inevitable, as Bell's makes another legendary DIPA that's one of my all-time favorites. This is more aggressive than HS IMHO. Hops are front, center, back, under, sideways, & sucking liberally on my tonsils. I hate to say this, but it's borderline bitter overload; that's not an experience I've ever had before. The grapefruit & pine are so hot they overload the senses & make me start sweating like a jalapeno sandwich. Couldn't drink more than one of these in a sitting.

Well. Very good beer, but I've finally hit my hophead wall. Too much. Really enjoying it, but give me some HopSlam any day!

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Photo of thetomG
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Above average appearance (but a little more clear than I prefer) - orangeish color, very nice ring of dense foam left around the glass after the initial head diminishes leaving behind a ton of sticky lacing. . Nice piney hop-filled aroma with a slight hint of citrusy fruit. Flavor is a good blend of bitter hop and malty flavors that try (but fail) to balance things out - the bitterness clearly wins out here, which takes away from the drinkability.

Good beer, but given the limited availability and my preference for other more readily available DIPAs, I'm not too likely to seek this one out all too often.

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Photo of hooliganlife
3.79/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

pours a golden yellow with huge thick creamy fluffy head. sticky lacing. big retention.

faint citrus. lots of tropical fruit when poured but once it sat for a few, nose is barely there. searching hard, i fond some booze and hops

mostly bitter pine and resin. a bit one dimensional. intense with the malts and booze. decent but nothing pops out at me that is grabbing my attention. some grapefruit in the finish.

nice chewy body and moderate carbonation.

expected more from this, it was good. maybe its because i waited like 2-3 years to try this.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
3.79/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

07/2015 bottle served in a pint glass.

Bright orange color with a thick and frothy head from the hard pour. Nose is piney, heavy citrus, grapefruit, oranges, dank and bold with spicy hop character. The taste is strong and follows the nose with the grapefruit and piney quality. The mouthfeel is lighter than I expected and the 10% ABV is hidden well however not necessary. I liked this one. I was left impressed with the 2 bottle limit at one of my local bottle shops.

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Photo of znichols
3.79/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Straight clear orange with a resilient white head. A good amount of sticky lacing clings to the glass too. Looks pretty standard to me. Looks like a double ipa.

S- Pungent hops and very very sweet malt in the aroma. There is a little bit of alcohol in there too. I would say grapefruit, pine, caramel, and alcohol.

T-Very delicious maltyness to this beer; not expected. The hops make an appearance at the end and really linger on the tastebuds. Think grapefruit, pine sap, and a little fresh cut grass. The caramel, toffee, brown sugar malt really overtakes this beer though. Not what i expected nor what i look for when purchasing a DIPA. not necessarily bad though.

M- Oily slick mouthfeel with moderate to low carbonation. Really glides across the tongue but kinda fails to really pull you in.

O- You know, this is a very good beer. Its biggest fault is the fact that it is too malty. Unfortunately it wasn't quite what i was looking for nor expecting in this brew. It really really is like an imperial two-hearted ale, with the caramel malt and touch of centennial hops really shining through. As others have said, might be closer to a barley wine than a DIPA. Not that bad, but not as advertised.

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Photo of GPHarris
3.79/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - poured a one finger thick off-white head into a snifter that left good lacing. the body was a bright amber color.
s - hints of fruit, bread, hint of sweetness.
t - strong and earthy hops with a hint of spiciness.
m - medium and slick.
d - overall a good beer but falls a bit short of my expectations.

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Photo of CraftEyeDoc
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%

Alcohol is too noticeable for me. It is very warming right from the first sip. Not what I am looking for in a DIPA. Some sweetness with nice hop flavor but alcohol is on the back end too. Just not what I am looking for in a DIPA.

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Photo of accordselux
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

Amber colored with a decent and persistent head.

Smells of grapefruit and pineapple. The taste is similar- a sweetness of a combination of candied oranges and pineapple at first, followed by grapefruit of the hops. Finishes with a resiny bitterness.

Continual carbonation keeps the beer light on the tongue, and it has a good consistency.

Drinkability is not high for me. The bitter aftertaste makes it difficult to continue drinking. The alcohol is incredibly well masked, as well.

I've decided I prefer sweeter or more balanced DIPA's, such as Hopslam and Abrasive Ale.

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Photo of Wobbly
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%

I found this beer to be a bit too much, even for this style. It lakes the balance and nuance of other IPA's. I prefer Bell's new release, Mars, to this for sure. Still worth trying.

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Photo of auroracrisis
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Got this as a freakin' extra in a trade. Thanks Brad! Never thought I'd be able to try this one.

Pours a golden orange with a one finger head. Looks almost identical to Two Hearted ale, which is a glorious looking beer so no complaints here. The head dissipates after a few minutes to a ring of foam with spotty lacing as the beer is consumed. Not bad.

Still some decent hop citrusy character in the smell after almost 3 months of being in the bottle. Almost no bittering, just juicy hops. Man, this one probably blew people out of the water fresh if it's still smelling this good after 3 months. I checked the batch number on Bell's site and it said this was bottled on 8/28/09 (batch 9306). Lots of sweet malts in the smell too.

Taste is dominated by hops up front. As you swallow there is more hops, this time bittering and a little bit of alcohol and some malts. Pretty good tasting but the alcohol is kind of turning me off a bit. Strange. I bet fresh the alcohol wouldn't be noticeable at all but here I can really taste it.

Mouthfeel is good. Decently carbonated, not chewy, with a medium body. No complaints.

Drinkability is not the best. I think it's the alcohol presence in this that is taking away from it. Both the affects of it and the taste. Oh well, wish I could have tried this fresh. I'm sure it was awesome. Thanks for the opportunity, Brad!

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Photo of kbutler1
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle. Pours a burnt orange almost burnt sienna color with a slight white head that forms a nice coasted atop the brew. Malty sweet aroma with graefruit type notes in the nose. The first sip yields a fairly malty brew that is pretty sweet on the upfront and just when you think "where are the hops?" BAM the hop bitterness plows into your mouth and on your tongue. Citrus rind type bitterness with some floral tastes. Medium mouthfeel. Not bad but nothing too crazy either and not worth the minimal hype that it comes with. To me I think there are other regular everyday DIPA's that are just as good and better. Worth a try though if you can find.

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Photo of Lillenk
3.81/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Has a nice dark tan almost red color. Not as much head as I usually get from this glass.

I have a cold so the smell was way less than expected but probably mostly due to the cold.

Taste is very good. Smacks you with hops on the front but rounds out really nicely without just hiding the bitter with sweet. Very well rounded.

Mouthfeel was nice. It was surprisingly easy to drink for a DIPA.

Overall a great beer.

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

Excited to try this, wasn't sure if i'd ever get around to getting a bottle. Thanks to Beerisheaven for the hookup!

Have you ever seen a Natural Sunburst Gibson Les Paul? Thats what this beer looks like. Just deep orange tones that are inviting and relaxing to look at while still having that sharp edge to it. beautiful color.

With Hopslam IMO having possibly(probally) the best aroma of any beer ever, one of the things most anticipated from Oracle was its aroma.
Oracle is way zestier, and less tropical them Slam, orange zest up the nose, with a paint thinner sharpness and burn also.

taste follows the aroma. orange and alcohol. doesnt hide it's strength well.
Alot more Brash then Slam, not as refined, but maybe this is from the months old it is, but it is still alot more bitter then any other Bells IPA. Interesting. It grows on me the more i drink it. really does.

One bottle is enough for now, but i'll buy some to revisit if it's released again someday.I'm really stoked i got to give this beer a greeting and learn what it's all about, but it's not so good to make me buy a case like Hopslam.

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Photo of Hop_God
3.82/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: golden to neon orange. Amber hue

S: booze. Citrus. Fruity candy. Malt. Slight bitter hops

T: bitter up front malty back. Quite boozy

F: boozy bite. Bitter palate

O: not bad. High booze. High piney bitterness

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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
93 out of 100 based on 718 ratings.