1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

The Oracle - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
The OracleThe Oracle

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

1,899 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,899
Reviews: 639
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 10.95%
Wants: 439
Gots: 246 | FT: 13
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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-04-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,899 | Reviews: 639 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of siege06nd
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%

Poured into my trusty Jackie O's tulip...

A: Pours a slightly cloudy copper-orange color. On the darker side of the DIPA class. A beautiful, soft and pillowy, eggshell white three finger head emerges from a moderately aggressive pour. It subsides to one finger and lingers for the duration. Sweet heavens, the lacing is a fine sheen of bubbly goodness and marks its territory with aplomb. Very pretty looking beer.

S: Fairly standard for style. A resiny, piny, slightly grassy/herbal hop presence. Smells faintly of creamy orange rind. Pretty good, but somewhat pedestrian.

T: Grapefruit and citrus coat the mid palate with a strong rush of bitterness on the back end from the hop oils. A resiny, herbal backbone forms the canvas for this beast. It's very hoppy but never harsh, which I like. I'm getting a touch of sweet malt, but for the most part, the hops speak for themselves. Well done.

M: If I'm being honest, I think it's a little over carbonated. Burns my tongue quite a bit and takes away from the flavor. Flavors themselves are balanced and compliment nicely.

O: It's not Hopslam, and for those of you that prefer smooth, sweet, and light DIPAs you may be disappointed, but the Oracle is a good beer nonetheless. Not sure it is worth the $20/sixer price tag, however.

siege06nd, Sep 09, 2011
Photo of iadler
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%

Big thanks to exitmusic00 for bringing this beer over for "mini-tasting" while we were packing a box for our tasting partner bif. Poured into my Fantome tulip. Bottled 8/12.

A- Pours a light hazy orange with a one finger head that dissipates slowly. A few lines of lacing are left behind.

S- Pine and grass upfront followed by pineapple, mango and apricot. Grapefruit and orange zest are also present.

T- A huge amount of pine that assaults the taste buds. Sweet bready malt, floral hops, pineapple, mango, apricot, grapefruit, and orange zest follow after. The tropical notes are less noticeable in the taste.

M- Medium carbonation and body with a slightly creamy mouthfeel. Finishes very dry and fairly boozy.

O- I was a little disappointed with this beer. It's a hop bomb for sure, but it is pretty boozy (dare I say, more boozy than hopslam with the lack of honey) The pine and grass hops were dominant. Worth trying, but not something that I would passionately seek out.

iadler, Sep 09, 2011
Photo of adam42381
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%

2011 Edition

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a chalice. Bottled on August 12, 2011 printed on label.

Appearance: Pours a hazy medium honey-caramel with orange highlights and a 1-2 finger fluffy snow-white head. Excellent lacing that really coats the glass.

Smell: Amazing aroma featuring grapefruit, oranges, pineapple and pine.

Taste: Sweet citrus up front followed by pine in the middle before ending with bitter citrus and pine at the finish. There is just a touch of alcohol at the finish as well. The aftertaste is very bitter and long-lasting. This is a serious hop bomb. There is really no malt to be found, but, in this case, I'm not complaining.

Mouthfeel: Medium-to-full-bodied with just the right amount of carbonation. The hop oils really coat the mouth. Goes down very smooth.

Drinkability: Excellent drinkability. The alcohol is masked pretty well for a beer with 10% ABV.

Overall: Excellent DIPA overall. Bell's really knows what they're doing with their DIPAs. While this isn't as good as Hopslam, in my opinion, this is still great beer. I like that this one is more hop-forward. It's a hophead's dream.

adam42381, Sep 07, 2011
Photo of avaldivia
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%

Received in trade from Raveskdr. Poured 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A: Hazy, orange color. Thick white head. Great lacing.

S: Very strong pine scent. A bit of grapefruit. Just a hint of alcohol on the end.

T: Ooh. Pine. A lot of pine. The resin is intense. Alcohol is stronger than I was expecting.

M: The pine resin is almost too intense. Creamy.

O: Good. The Pine was almost too strong. I am a fan of DIPAs, but this one is not really my favorite.

avaldivia, Sep 06, 2011
Photo of Meerkey
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%

A: Clear, tawny copper. Lots of bubbles.

S: Lots of grapefruit and hops. Nice, but rather unimpressive.

T: Bitter hops and pine resin with some citrus. Balanced with some nice malts. Quite good.

M: Creamy, full, and smooth with a little bit of a kick. Really nice.

O: I like it a lot. Recommended; would have again.

Meerkey, Sep 06, 2011
Photo of bballmj2k
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%

Lucky to find this on tap at sams in Durham.

A - deep golden orange with a finger of head with tight white bubbles

S - oh yeah. This is so much like hopslam. No DIPA I've ever had matches the aroma of these beers. Grapefruit, citrus, peach, mango and pine.

T - wow. Bitterness is huge up front with fruity flavors towards the middle and piney resin at the back. Phenomenal.

M - super dry. Medium carbonation but great sticky mouthfeel.

I believe I prefer hopslam, the honey really adds some depth and drinkability to the base beer. Either way this is fantastic and worth trying to find.

bballmj2k, Sep 05, 2011
Photo of oline73
3.4/5  rDev -19%

I had this on-tap at the Eccentric Cafe as a part of my sampler.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber color with a finger of off white head. This beer has amazing head retention with a solid layer of head remaining throughout the pour.

Smell: Really mild, which I would not expect from a 10 percent double IPA. Some malt and mild citrus hops. I expected more.

Taste: Better than the smell. Bitter citrus peel hops throughout. Some malt, but it is overwhelmed by the bitterness. The finish is really bitter.

Mouthfeel: The body is a bit thick with smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: Really bitter. I expected more body given the abv. I probably won't have another given all the other DIPA options.

oline73, Sep 05, 2011
Photo of lanamj
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%

On tap @ work (Duckworths) served into a pilsner.

A- Pours a nice copper color with a 1/2 inch white foamy head. The lacing is that of sparkling wine, it glistens.

S- Fresh hops and sweet malts. I get some citrus and lemon grass. The malts smell like brown sugar and peach.

T- Nice hop presence with a malty backbone. A little two much malt on this one but the hops are so good. It has nice floral flavors as well as a good balance on the bittering hops and sweet malts. There is a small hint of onion and garlic on the finish.

M- Nicely carbonated and smooth like a good IPA should be. It's drinkability is one of the best.

O- A nice 2xIPA but i can see this one being very sub-settable to shelf life.... the fresher the better. It was up there with Gubna and Devil Dancer in my opinion with a more approachable drinkabilty.

lanamj, Sep 05, 2011
Photo of salvo
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%

Pours out crystal clear straw yellow with strong brown and red tones. Off-white head stains and etches the glass and lasts and lingers through the bottle. Nose is pine and grapefruit with other earthy tones and citrus smells in the background. Leather and butterscotch are just barely perceptible.

The taste has a pronounced lean towards lime over any other citrus: a nice, unique surprise. Strong hop character: biting, assertive, tangy, and earthy. The bottle conditioning offers a creamy rich mouthfeel which is a step up from the tap.The beer improves with some age.

In May, I was lucky enough to have Oracle on tap. It's better from the bottle. I paste my tap review for reference:

Oracle double IPA head going strong after 15 minutes. Bitter, earthy hops with citrus and pine. Hopsplosion! Very, very dry and light mouthfeel. Light banana hints, wet hay, and smells a little of burlap. Finish is long, bitter, and pulls at the throat. Drys the mouth, readies for more.

Had this at the Eccentric Cafe and thought it was a pub one-off, but would love the chance to score some bottles.

salvo, Sep 05, 2011
Photo of clint1019
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%

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.

clint1019, Sep 05, 2011
Photo of HopDiggityDawg
4.45/5  rDev +6%

Poured into a snifter
Bottled on 8/12/11
Smell - The only aspect of this beer that did not blow me away was the nose. I don't buy beer to smell it I buy it to drink it so enough said.
Taste - Now we are talking! You know how liquor drinkers can taste the vast difference between top shelf stuff and well drinks? This is a top shelf DIPA. I think the Oracle has a real west coast taste. I avoided the temptation to compare it to Hopslam because of my existing love of everything about Hopslam and because they are two very different, although amazing DIPAs. Great hop presence, pine and resin take over in the finish. Mouthfeel is exceptional, just the right body, creamy without being syrupy. If you can get your hands on this one do not pass up this beer!

HopDiggityDawg, Sep 04, 2011
Photo of Rhettroactive
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%

From 12oz bottle to Jackie O's stemmed tulip on 8/29/11
*From notes

-- Bottle purchased at The Anderson's General Store in Columbus, OH on 8/26/11 --

A: Brilliant dark amber. A forceful pour yields a 3.25 finger head and big league lacing.

S: Juicy. Really juicy. It reminds me a bit of Bell's Hopslam, sans the honey influence. It's fairly one-note, but might I say, it's a damn fine note.

T: Bitter up front, and as it opens up, so does the immense amount of tropical fruit juice. Just dripping with the stuff. The finish is pretty intense, with an odd twang of black coffee.

M: You know how Bell's does. This is a classy beer - the carbonation, weight and texture are all top shelf.

O: Bell's Oracle is a damn fine DIPA. Is it as good as Hopslam? No, but it certainly holds it's own. A beer I hope to return to, and recommend without hesitation.

Rhettroactive, Sep 03, 2011
Photo of Wadsey
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%

The Oracle, bottled on 8-12-11 and consumed on 9-1-11

Served in New Belgium globe glass

A: Pours clear gold with big, off-white head that shows great retention and leaves sheets of foam clinging to glass. Light effervescence. 

S: Tea, pine, tropical fruits, especially grapefruit, and white grapes. The hops smell quite pungent and fresh. Alcohol is detectable but does not detract from smell.

T: Malty sweetness leads off, stronger than I remember. Transitions to pine and aforementioned fruits. Spiciness zips across palate. High bitterness peaks on palate, sits there for a long, long time and then slowly dwindles as the beer's finish. 

M: Medium-heavy body and medium-light carbonation. Sticky mouthfeel and warming. Drying toward finish. 

O: This year's The Oracle is a little too sweet up front for me, but it is still a great DIPA. Ambitious in its breadth and meticulous in its brewing. Recommended. 

Wadsey, Sep 03, 2011
Photo of tfleming09
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%

My first review on here. Bottled on 8/12/11.

Poured on 8/2 into a Bell's tulip.

A - pours a slightly hazy amber color with a nice, creamy offwhite head that retains well and leaves some nice lacing.

S - pine, citrus, certainly a hop bomb typical smell

T - wow, this thing is really a west coast style DIPA. Big hop presence up front, grapefruit mostly, nice warming alcohol finish but it's well hidden at 10%. If there's any malt in this, I'm not tasting it.

M - nicely carbonated, full bodied, sticky and resiny.

O - this thing was tough to track down, but worth the effort. Nowhere near as balanced as Hopslam, but that isn't a bad thing. This is an excellent beer, but I couldn't drink a ton of it like I can with Hopslam.

tfleming09, Sep 02, 2011
Photo of projectflam86
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%

12oz bottle poured into a Bell's tulip. Packaged 08/12/11.

A- Pours an amber orange color with a thick white foam head that leaves great lacing.

S- The nose is all hops with grapefruit and tropical fruit aromas. Just a touch of sweetness is noticeable.

T- Wow, much more bitter than Hopslam. Sharp initial hop bitterness with a good dose of alcohol in the finish. Hop flavor is mostly grapefruit with some pine. Start with Hopslam then take out the honey and up the bitterness and you've got The Oracle.

M- Boozy and full bodied for a DIPA. Nice carbonation.

O- Overall this was really a great brew. Maybe a touch overboard on the bitterness but something that the Cali BAs would love if they had access to it.

projectflam86, Sep 01, 2011
Photo of wifehatesthebike
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%

A: Amber color with a light thin creamy head.

S: Candied orange, pine and hints of bitterness. The smell hints of alcohol as well.

T: Initial surge of tropical fruit hops and hop oil followed by a warming from the alcohol. End flavors of piney bitterness that lingers for quite some time.

M: Average for the style, not great not poor.

O: For me this beer is great except the alcoholic flavor comes through too much after the initial hop bite. I prefer my DIPA's a bit cleaner on the lingering flavor, but this is still quite a good choice.

wifehatesthebike, Sep 01, 2011
Photo of dc55110
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%

12oz bottle poured into a Bell's tulip. Bottled date 8/12/11.

A vigorous pour yields a 1/2 to 3/4 inch foamy head, it dissipates slowly to a nice froth, which in turn leaves a nice ring of lacing around the glass. The liquid is a nice deep copper color. A steady stream of carbonation bubbles work their way up from the bottom.

The aroma is very full of citrus fruits; Pineapple, grapefruit, a little mango? At the very back of there is also hints pine. Only on the deepest in inhalations do I detect a sweet malty aroma.

I'm a bit taken back by the initial flavors. The pine and malts which were nearly drowned out by the citrus aromas are front and center on the tongue... The fruity hops are there but not as present as the nose let on. The 10% ABV which was hidden quite well during the sniff test, is not quite as elusive on the way down the gullet. As it warms the pine and booze become more assertive.

The body of this is every bit IIPA. Clean, crips and finishes without too much malty sweetness. The carbonation is spot on.

While this is fine example of a IIPA, I wouldn't go out of my way to grab it again, especially at the hwy robbery price I paid ($4.99). It isn't a malty syrupy mess like Double Crooked Tree or hop bomb like Devil Dancer. At the same time it isn't nearly as well developed as Exponential Hoppiness or Abrasive. Is it a really good Imperial IPA? Yeah!

dc55110, Sep 01, 2011
Photo of gregy55902
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%

First BA review. Here goes...

12oz bottle poured into an oversized snifter. Bottled on 8/12/2011.

A – light hazy amber with a hint of red when inspected under direct light. Minimal head on a gentle pour, leaving a few patches of bubbles with a bit of lacing.

S – Sweet citrus hops, tropical fruits, and a hint of honey. Rivals the Odell Myrcenary.

T – First sip: the piney hops are introduced and make a strong statement. Alcohol is present yet not overpowering. Robust finish that is a combination of the citrus/piney hop profile, but it is more focused on the piney hops.

M – This is lightly carbonated for a DIPA but I think it works well. It is creamy but also thick and chewy.

O – Great big DIPA. I favor the more citrus-leaning varieties, but this is a well-balanced offering from Bell's more suited to lovers of strong piney hops. I can't wait until January to see how the Hopslam stacks up in comparison.

gregy55902, Sep 01, 2011
Photo of ColdPoncho
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%

Bottled 8/12/11
For as long as it took me to track this down, it had better be good!

A - Clear copper/amber body with a small but staying offwhite head. Nice look.

S - Oh yes, citrus and pine and grassy hops. Some tropical fruit. It's just hops. It's not overpowering, but it's real hoppy.

T - Nice citrusy and bitter hops. TOuch of earth on the finish. Yup. Good. Lots of hops. Not overpowering. Fresher probably gets a 4.5+

M - Nice and smooth and thick. I guess this is about perfect.

O - This is a great DIPA. I want more than 2 bottles. Hopefully I'll find more.

ColdPoncho, Sep 01, 2011
Photo of jmarsh123
4.65/5  rDev +10.7%

Bell's tap takeover at Yogi's out of a tulip.

Pours a bright orange with a white creamy head.

Smells typical of a West Coast DIPA. Loads of grapefruit and some citrus/pine as well.

Oh wow this is good. Very creamy and hits at first with a grapefruit wallop with just enough malt to balance this hop bomb a bit. Finishes with an INTENSE piney dry bitter finish. Covers up the alcohol very well as I wouldn't expect I was drinking something 10%.

Mouthfeel is very creamy with good carbonation levels.

I've heard good things about this one, but it still blew me away. I just wish it were a little more readily available.

jmarsh123, Aug 31, 2011
Photo of Lauthaha
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a beer mug.

Appearance: Beer pours a golden/copper color, with a great deal of visible carbonation. Head is pretty thick and frothy, with an eggshell-white color to it. Moderate lacing as the head recedes, great retention.

Smell: I really wish I didn't have allergies right now...but even with a stuffed up nose, I can sense a great deal of flavor. Grassy at first, then a wallop of citrus and spice, a subtle malty base, and just a hint of ester.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy, it flows like hoppy lava across the tongue. The sharpness of the hops and spice are mellowed by a smoothness in the malt. So creamy. Some wildflower tendencies with a grassy touch, and as the sip comes to an end, a supremely bitter dryness settles onto the palate. Simply beautiful...I'll take a keg, please.

Overall: Nearly perfect. I think the only thing that could make this beer any better would be to put it on tap (preferably a nitro-tap). Supreme!

Lauthaha, Aug 31, 2011
Photo of SummitVA
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%

A - Brilliant orange pour with a light frothy head. Carbonation is strong and steady.

S - Big pine and citrus hops, with grapefruit standing out especially. Caramel sweetness and alcohol heat.

T - Huge hops flavor washes over the palate. Pine more so than the citrus, with that wonderfully resiny taste, and bitterness, lingering on the palate. Sweetness from malt and alcohol stand up to the hop character well. Heat apparent from the first sip, but this is not unpleasant.

M - Steady carbonation gives this full-bodied brew a lighter feel. Goes down plenty easy.

O - A lot of sweetness here that edges out the hops just a bit to one side of "perfect balance" for me, but for a 10% DIPA it's to be expected. Had a not-so-fresh bottles years ago, and I'm very happy to have had a fresh one to clean that taste from my memory. Another great beer from Bells.

SummitVA, Aug 30, 2011
Photo of plfahey
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Burnished gold-orange color with brilliant clarity. Moderately large head with great retention.

Aroma-Juicy hops and alcohol/ester profile-tropical fruits with pineapple and mango leading the way with pungent, spicy, citric, and resiny notes close behind. Some hefty caramel malt and light toast form a backbone, with slight, peppery alcohol. Slight raisiny notes from the malt as well.

Flavor-Caramel malt with slight orange citrus notes gives way to a burst of pungent resin and pine with moderately high hop bitterness. Bitterness expands on the palate in the finish, but is still rather smooth, with slight traces of caramel and raisins blending with the spicy/pungent hop notes which seem to go on forever.

Mouthfeel-Medium full body with moderate carbonation. Smooth on the palate with light alcohol warmth and tongue coating bitterness.

What a great DIPA! Reminiscent of Hopslam with just a hair less hop character and a dab more caramel. Smells great, tastes great, and drinks great. What more could you ask for?

plfahey, Aug 30, 2011
Photo of warbird07
5/5  rDev +19%

bottles 8/12/11..poured into my New Belgium globe...

This DIPA pours a blood orange, clear, no floaties, nice two finger head after an aggressive pour, real nice lacing..this is a damn fine looking beer..

The smell..beautiful citrus floral aroma, grapefruit, slight pine, very balanced..a real pleasure just to sit here and smell this beer

The taste.in a word..lovely..it is all about the hops, but this style does have a signifigant malt body..but it serves to support the beautiful hop profile..has a real subltle bitter finish that lingers..really leaves you wanting more..

mouthfeel is nice and balanced, not too heavy, perfect carbonation, really enjoyable..

This beer is one of my all time favorite double IPAs...a fantastic beer..

warbird07, Aug 30, 2011
Photo of output01x
4.2/5  rDev 0%

Poured from a 12 oz. capped bottle (Packaged On 08/12/11) into a snifter glass.

A strong pour yields a 1 1/2-finger cream-colored head that recedes after a few minutes to a thin, goopy coating and thick foam ring. The body is a clear orange amber with a good amount of small-rising carbonation bubbles. Great lacing clings to the sides of the glass throughout consumption.

Hops aromas explode out of the waning head. Grapefruit, mango, and orange peel aromas give the nose a very tropical character. Resinous pine and grassy hops aromas are also present.

The first sip delivers resinous pine and a sharp, oily citrus flavor with notes of orange peel and mango. As soon as the beer is swallowed, pine quickly moves in with a great bitterness. The bitterness never becomes drying and only lasts until a somewhat excessive alcohol burn develops in the back of the throat.

Medium bodied with good carbonation makes this a decently drinkable DIPA. The body is a little thick and slightly syrupy but is not sticky. The carbonation is not fizzy at all and can barely be detected.

output01x, Aug 30, 2011
The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 1,899 ratings.