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The Oracle - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
The OracleThe Oracle

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,889 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,889
Reviews: 639
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 10.95%
Wants: 438
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
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Ratings: 1,889 | Reviews: 639 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of smakawhat
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%

Poured on tap at Churchkey DC into a tumbler. Listed as dry hopped with Amarillo and Pacific Jade.

A light copper/red amber body, almost bronze in appearance with a slight creamy head. Served small head but keeps a collar while drinking.

Nose is small, kind of pine like but mild also with a strange noticeable thick sense of alcohol haze.

Taste brings a thick pine and resin, with a very hot finish. Finish aftertaste ... is extremely dry, with a hop bitter grapefruit oil sense, and a small mild brown sugar. Texture is a good mix of mild carbonation and brittle dry bitterness.

Overall impressive, just wish the nose was a little bolder. Alcohol seems very noticeable as well overpowering some of the beers better qualities.

smakawhat, Aug 23, 2011
Photo of FosterJM
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

744th Review on BA
Bottle to Tulip
Bottled 8/12/11

Thanks to @Kzoobrew

App- A very dark orange with some amber and yellow highlights. A gigantic two finger head. A nice little wall of cling.

Smell- A monster of a nose on this beer. Huge malty beer with deep citrus notes. Orange and nectarines all over the place on this one. A paired hop bitter on this one as well.

Taste- Wow, this was a big ol punch in the face of flavor. Malty, citrusy and a nice bitter hops. This has a nice alcohol bite to it. Not ABV just a wallop of booze.

Mouth- A medium bodied DIPA with a matching carbonation level. Huge hoppy deep citrus notes.

Drink- Damn this was tasty. Big, hot, heavy citrus and it was very tasty. Thanks again to Kzoobrew again for this one. A very nice beer. One of the best I've had from Bell's.

FosterJM, Aug 22, 2011
Photo of mdvatab
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%

Poured from 12oz bottle into imperial pint glass.
Bottle dated 8/12/2011. (Gotta love a 9-day old DIPA!)

Aroma: Green pine needles and herbal hops, sweet tea, red delicious apple, and nice peach aroma sets in after a while.

Appearance: Golden-copper, crystal clear body. Thick, two-finger, persistent off-white head. Nice, foamy lacing sticks to inside of glass.

Flavor: Deceptive honey-like sweetness and medicinal hop up front. Pine resin quickly follows. Strong bitterness then ramps up as sweetness subsides. Bitterness then ramps up, and increases well through the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation and medium body. Alcohol is warming in the throat after swallowing.

Overall: Lots of great things going on here. From the fantastic aroma, to the appearance, to the roller coaster ride of flavors. I will say-- the bitterness that shows up after I swallowed each sip was almost enough to make me cry uncle! If you have a taste for some powerful bitterness, and can get a hold of this one, I highly recommend it!

mdvatab, Aug 22, 2011
Photo of blackcompg
5/5  rDev +19%

Purchased a very fresh case of Oracle from Bell's Brewery on 8/14/11, reviewing on 8/15/11, poured from a 12oz bottle into a 12oz beer glass...been waiting for this all year long!

Appearance - Pours a quick finger of off white-eggshell head, color is a glowing lite copper orange, slightest bit of haze, nearly clear. Keeps a solid cap for the session. Smooth laced stripes coat the glass from top to bottom at the end of the session.

Smell - Big citrusy hops, grapefruit juice and pineapple, touch of pine in the back, little bit of hard candy sweetness, no alcohol in the nose.

Taste - OMG!!! This could not be a fresher Oracle, and the taste is Incredible, SO GOOD! Semi-sweet yellow grapefruit, under-ripe pineapple, tangering peel and ruby red grapefruit...all of this rides along a slightly sweet malty backbone...all the while there are floral hops. After ths sip a nice bitterness of grapefruit rind and pine assert themselves long into the finish, but there are still pockets of citrus and candied semi-sweetness throughout the mouth...this is not like a salvo of punches at all, this is a perfectly orchestrated symphony! There is no evidence of the 10% ABV, never have I seen (not seen?) an ABV like this hidden so well...there is a slight warmth that develops a little over halfway thru the session.

Mouthfeel - Medium mouthfeel, so smooth, carb is light and tingly, with all of the different hoppy citrus notes there is some juicyness here, yet there is some bitter dryness in the finish - just enough to beg the next sip - perfection.

Overall - I LOVE this beer, my only complaint is that this is a seasonal release. Find it, trade for it, go to Bell's in Kalamazoo and get some if you must - this to me is the best tasting DIPA I've had so far. Two thumbs up, way up!

blackcompg, Aug 16, 2011
Photo of SykDoc
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

Poured from a bottle into a tulip. It pours a nice mildly hazy copper color and forms a 1.5 inch off-white head that slowly reduces to a nice lacing. Carbonation visible and no sediment.

The aroma is a great blend of a caramel malt backbone and some very nice citrusy hops components. Bitter smelling, yet sweet.

The taste is as the aroma. A nice blend of malty backbone with a pineapple sweetness and a nice citrus bite and pine with just a bit of herbal presence. Some alcohol presence as well.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a unique thickness/texture that makes it seem full bodied. Evenly balanced carbonation and a nice dry finish.

This is a great beer. The only thing that keeps from giving it a 5 overall is the alcohol and texture which leave your palate sufficiently satisfied after one.

SykDoc, Aug 12, 2011
Photo of Alieniloquium
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%

On tap at the Kite & Key in Philadelphia. Served in a chalice.

A - Deep golden, slightly orange body with a nice white head and great lacing.

S - Strong citrus hops and caramel malts. Those flavors are great, but I get a lot of booze.

T - Much like the aroma. Nice citrusy hops. Grapefruit and orange hops. Good bitterness in the back, but, again, lots of booze.

M - Surprisingly not thick. Maybe even a bit dry. The booze comes out the most, though.

O - It would be spectacular if it weren't so boozy. That really just kills it.

Alieniloquium, Aug 05, 2011
Photo of BARFLYB
4/5  rDev -4.8%

On Tap at Kite and Key for an event. Been looking for this since it's been out. Is there anything this city cant procure.

The Oracle came to me in the glass a dark gold color with spots of a orange with red as well. Not the brightest DIPA. A nice amount of frothy white foam on top that left spraypaint lace. Smell was very piney with a underlining citrus fruit appeal. Apparently dry hopped with god knows what. The smallest amount of malt once the glass is almost done and room temp is reached. Sipping this I was floored by the flavor. This is a DIPA with mad hop presence and not so much of the extra malt found in doubles. This leads to a very bitter pine taste up front in the middle with some citrus afterwards when everything is said and done. The pine sap is bursting out of here. Feel is a strong medium with a very resinous feel down the gullet. It's carbed up nicely but bitter and lasting almost forever. The Oracle is no joke, a DIPA in every sense of the word yet a bit unbalanced and not insanely drinkable. I wanted another one but it would of wrecked my palate into oblivion.

BARFLYB, Jul 27, 2011
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%

Had this on-tap at the Brick Store Pub during their recent anniversary celebration. I love this beer. When a double IPA is done right, then for me it's a thing of beauty, and this example is hitting on all cylinders for my taste buds. Pours a nice dark orange amber with a nice head that fades to a thin cap. Very nice lacing with distinct bands of lace down the glass as you drink. The aromas are a nice blend of hops, starting with what smells like Summit and others layered on. Good herbaceous notes with a touch of green onion, dill, and even lactic notes- which is all hop driven. These notes develop more into the direction of pine and pepper with some clean, pure malt underneath as a base, and some tropical fruit right at the end. I always like multi-note hop presence, particularly a layered experience like this. The taste, if anything, is even better. Beautifully balanced hops with pine, bitter citrus, and herbal flavors that are particularly strong on dill and tanginess. There are also developing tastes of more pine, spice, earth, and very firm malt. Overall, you get a blast of hops with a fla vor progression starting with citrus and cycling through pine, herbs, spice, earth, and a late pine finish and long bitterness throughout. Very full and flavorful, but not hot in the least and very drinkable. Fantastic beer, but I will say that if you're not a fan of the more herbaceous styles of hops, you might not find it quite as enjoyable as I did.

Georgiabeer, Jul 16, 2011
Photo of glid02
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%

On-tap at the Brick Store.

Pours a slightly hazy light copper color with a white head that leaves solid lacing.

Smells of pale malts with large amounts of bright citrus and tropical fruit hops. Also present is some underlying herbal notes.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Mildly dry pale malts up front are joined almost immediately by large citrus and tropical fruit hops – pineapple, grapefruit, and papaya. Midway through herbal hops turn the flavor profile slightly more bitter, carrying through to a moderately bitter ending. Mouthfeel is good, with decent carbonation.

Overall this beer did not disappoint – it’s just a touch away from the Plinys of the world. Well worth a shot.

glid02, Jul 14, 2011
Photo of rye726
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%

Up for review is a 12oz bottle of The Oracle from Bells poured into a pint glass at room temp. Nice cedar color, lacy tan head. Nice blend of hops and malts. This sample seems a bit stale, but it still has a nice bitter hop presence. Medium body well carbonated. Nice bitter finish.

rye726, Jul 12, 2011
Photo of TheHoppiest
4.78/5  rDev +13.8%

Had on tap at Lizardville in a tulip glass. Poured a burnt orange amber with a thick off-white head that has good staying power. Beautiful lacing along the sides of the glass as the beer is consumed.

Has a rich, citrus smell, loaded with hop resin, and definite notes of grapefruit, evergreen, and orange.

Rich, resinous, and creamy, with a strong hop-bitter profile that sands the tongue from front to back. Tobacco, pine, and oak leaves combine with an abundant alcohol presence to give this a real aggressive flavor. This strength and bitterness is somewhat tempered with mild sweet grape and apricot flavors. If you like your beer to be flavorful and complex, then grab one of these.

Full bodied, this will grab your tongue and wring it out leaving it appreciable bone-dry.

An excellent brew, which I frankly like better than HopSlam. Bell's, please put this out in wider release!

TheHoppiest, Jul 08, 2011
Photo of TheBear11D
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%

On tap at Bells. Reviewed 6-18-11 from notes.

Pours a very nice tangerine orange with a nearly white head that hung out for a good time and left plenty of lacing.

Various citrus hops dominate the nose and it is good. Orange, pineapple and grapefruit are the distinguishable aromas I am picking up.

Strait citrus hops in the flavor. Plenty of them and they destroy all other flavors. Malt is present for just a brief second and then the hops swing into full effect and entertain the tongue into the aftertaste.

Full body and completely smooth.

Delicious brew! Glad I could enjoy this on tap and I recommend you do the same.

TheBear11D, Jun 20, 2011
Photo of MikeyRx
4.78/5  rDev +13.8%

Appearance: Pours orange-copper with white head that lasts and leaves good lacing.

Smell: Hops, citrus, pine and had a soapy quality.

Taste: Hop-forward with some grain flavors. Strong grass and pine tastes followed by a slightly sweeter citrus. As the beer warmed I noted orange and grapefruit.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation. Has a tacky, slightly oily feel that dries slightly but not completely through the finish.

Overall: The Oracle is everything a DIPA should be. The taste is strong and complex, and the mouthfeel complements it perfectly.

MikeyRx, Jun 05, 2011
Photo of Knapp85
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%

Had this on tap at the Eccentric Cafe in Kalamazoo, it was one of the only beers from Bell's that I hadn't been able to find here in PA. The pour of the beer was a nice copper color. The head faded really quickly and didn't leave much lacing at all. The smell of the beer was wonderful, lots and lots of citrus on the nose. Not quite as good of an aroma as HopSlam but close. The taste was a citric pine tartness with a sweet dry aftertaste. The only problem I had with the beer was it's mouthfeel. It seemed to be just a bit watery for my liking. Other than that it was a damn good brew.

Knapp85, May 07, 2011
Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A- Orange, with a touch of reddness. Tan head that lingers forever.

S- Citrus overload, very strong, but I love it.

T- Very mellow sweet citrus flavors.

D- Creamy and mellow.

O- With a bottle code of 9901, this was bottled on 8-23-2010. I am afraid it is past it's prime and has lost some of the hop bitterness, but it is still a nice drinking beer. I can't wait to try it fresh.

HuskyinPDX, Apr 24, 2011
Photo of elgiacomo
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%

Enjoying a fresh sample, bottled August 12 and sampled September 6. Absolute hop assault bitter bomb! MUST be enjoyed fresh! Wonderful!

Appearance loses the haziness of the aged bottle, very clear but still leaves wonderul lacing and is a joy to behold.

Aroma is about the same with strong apricot, citrus and tropical fruits with an underlying caramel malt backbone.

Biggest difference in the flavor is a far more pronounced bitterness and less maltiness. Very tasty.

--- --- --- ---

Original Review April 10, 2011:

12oz bottle, batch 9901, bottled August 23, 2010. A bit dated, I know, but this was my only opportunity to get a hold of a bottle of The Oracle.

Pours very hazy orange amber with beautiful swirls, huge off-white foamy head that leaves plenty of clumpy lacing.

Aroma is peach, citrus, grapefruit, tangerine, some caramel malt. Good strength.

Flavor is peach, mango, tropical fruits, citrus such as tangerine and oranges, a bit of grapefruit, citrusy and tropical, strong caramel malt backbone with some sweetness, fair bitterness, a bit of alcohol.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, oily, medium carbonation.

I’d love to try a fresh bottle of this as I’m rather impressed considering it is a DIPA that is over 7 months old now. Taking a little mercy on the score due to the age, but holds up pretty well.

elgiacomo, Apr 10, 2011
Photo of kzoobrew
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%

On tap at Bell's. Served in a snifter.

Bright and glowing orange body. One and a half finger egg shell head is set atop. The head fades back slowly though a modest cap remains atop for the duration. Moderate amount of lacing left clinging to the glass. This is what a DIPA should look like.

Thick citrus and resinous pine aroma spills from the glass. Strong grapefruit and tangelo scents. With the batch being so fresh on tap I believe the beer is still a bit green. A rather organic dry hop aroma is still present. Sticky resinous pine compliments the citrus quite well. Very pleasant balance with the aroma.

Biting but pleasant bitterness up front. Pithy citrus and resinous pine flood the front of the palate. A slightly sweeter citrus flavor develops just behind. Slightly tropical fruit and tangerine blend with the presence of bitter grapefruit and pith which carry on through out.

Medium bodied DIPA. The hop presense does weigh strong on the tongue though remains dry. Resinous slightly oily texture left behind.

Tremendous beer, glad to have it uber fresh on tap. There was a bit of booziness associated but overall it was unobstructive. Tremendous blanace through out. I would have drank a few glasses but was smart enough to stop at one. A top tier DIPA, no questions asked.

kzoobrew, Apr 07, 2011
Photo of StoneTSR
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%

From notes taken this past fall:

APPEARANCE: Reddish-gold in color with a slight haze, topped by a bubbly, white head that maintained itself for a couple minutes. Lots of pretty lacing lined all three sides of the glass that were not being sipped from.

SMELL: Pine dominates the smell, but notes of citrus, particularly orange, are present. Not as strong of a nose as I would like in a DIPA, but not a bad one.

TASTE: Some toasty malts and caramel flavors are immediately apparent, yet somehow this is not an overwhelmingly sweet beer. A piney and grassy hop flavor balance the sweet side out and make this a strong, but bitter and very, very tasty Double IPA. I'm impressed. Towards the end of the glass some hints of grapefruit began to creep in, providing a nicer and nicer, dry aftertaste as the beer went down. Odd, but I liked it.

MOUTHFEEL: Excellent mouthfeel. The Oracle has more sparkle than I expected from it, especially after trying the Hopslam. I expected less of a bite, but at the same time, this is by no means an abrasive beer to drink. It goes down easy, it just rips some taste buds off on the way down. Pretty awesome.

OVERALL: The first few sips were not exactly tough to get down, but shortly after I began drinking The Oracle it became extraordinarily easy to drink. A nice dry finish and aftertaste combined with a complex, flavorful and slightly sweet flavor up front make this a tough beer to let go of. Like most good DIPAs, this is dangerously drinkable. As a side note, it's almost a shame that Bell's makes it. If it was another brewer's top DIPA, it would likely get a lot more attention, but I think it gets overshadowed by Hopslam.

StoneTSR, Feb 22, 2011
Photo of BB1313
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%

Batch #: 9901. 12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Pours a very pretty hazy golden color with a nice white head that sticks around w/ sticky lacing. Nice looking beer! The aromas aren't bad, lots of orange and pine. I pick those up in the taste, along with alot of resin. There are slight hints of caramel and toffee, slight. Finishes juicy, but hot. This one's pretty sweet and malty. Tastes pretty sticky as well. Mouthfeel is nice, rich, smooth, creamy; full-bodied. Drinkability isn't bad, alcohol is slightly noticeable, but drinks pretty well.

Pretty enjoyable, I'll have to seek it fresher next time. Although I liked it, I'll take a HopSlam over this any day of the week.. no disrespect to The Oracle.

BB1313, Feb 18, 2011
Photo of seedsofchaos
3.25/5  rDev -22.6%

2010 bottle courtesy of Hap drank on a bright early Spring day (February 13th, 2011).

Bright honey orange meet golden. A billowing, almost beligian-esque head crowns the Oracle. Head is brilliant white, almost bleach white and made up entirely of tight carbonation bubbles. Lacing plays all the way down. Straight from cellar temperature the aroma is a bit strange. A touch of malt sweetness but mostly piney hops and then a vegetative cooked corn smell. DMS? I don't think lager yeast was used here... Curious to where this smell is coming from. As the beer warms to room temperature, this DIPA gets strangely better. Citrus hops come out and it becomes much more peachy. Malts into the realm of DIPAs on my palette now. Bready. Biscuity. The Oracle fails to impress.

This seasonal from Bell's is, perhaps, like other seasonals: only great for a few weeks, good for several months and then just mediocre afterward. I will have to try to obtain this fresh next year as this bottle was not filled with the flavors I would expect from Bell's.

seedsofchaos, Feb 14, 2011
Photo of DavoleBomb
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%

Poured into a snifter.

4.5 A: Hazed medium orange color. Two fingers of beige super creamy head with good retention and tons of lacing.

4.5 S: Smell is great! Reminds me of DFH 90 or something like that. I love hoppy DIPAs that also happen to have respectable malt components. Strongest aroma is pineapple with orange, lemon, and mango close behind. Malts are sweet with plum fruitiness and solid caramel and toffee components. Bready yeastiness. Very nice.

4.5 T: Tastes just like it smells. Pineapple is strongest again alongside papaya with the orange, lemon, and mango playing supporting roles again. Bready yeastiness without being too bready. Lots of toffee with a lesser amount of caramel and plum fruitiness again. Surprisingly low bitterness and only traces of alcohol.

4.5 M: Heavier medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Super creamy, smooth, and a bit chewy due to the yeast.

3.5 D: I find a lot of unfiltered IPA/DIPAs to be less drinkable than similarly flavored filtered varieties and this is no different. The bready yeastiness just becomes too much after a while. Still, this is an excellent beer and definitely worth an occasional bottle.

I don't know if I'm nuts or if the age of the bottle has made me think this isn't anything like a West Coast DIPA. There is a plenty of contribution from the malts and the yeasty breadiness distances this even more from a WCD. I'll have another bottle soon and adjust the review if necessary.

DavoleBomb, Feb 09, 2011
Photo of dpasotti
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%

Interesting translucent light copper in color with a thin crown that clings to the glass for dear life on the way down. When I bring the Swensen's goblet to my nose, a massive prickly pineapple smacks me in the face. Loads of tropical fruity hop aromas makes it seem like Bells designed the beer based solely around exotic, tropical hop characteristics. There's a little caramel malt and a nice clean herbal/scented soap aroma (in a good way).

The flavor doesn't fall far from the Hawaiian fruit tree: pineapple, papaya, mango, peach... Minimal malt character lets the hops shine while keeping the brew in balance. This is a refreshing change from the citrusy or piney double IPAs that are the norm. The bitterness is not intensely sharp upfront, but rather fills the whole mouth with a hefty, even bitterness.

The mouthfeel is oily as expected, but not overly so. Medium-low carbonation helps to beef up the body into the midrange. Most DIPAs, including Hopslam, are able to fully conceal the high alcohol content with hops, but a somewhat obtrusive alcohol presence detracts a bit from the drinkability here. However, I did just casually slam one of these beasts in <30 minutes, so I really can't complain.

dpasotti, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of brew3crew
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%

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.

brew3crew, Jan 31, 2011
Photo of Urbancaver
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%

On tap at Bell's

Somewhere between two hearted and hopslam... smells like a divine blend of hops and floral goodness! The taste leaves something to be desired however. Its not quite up to snuff sadly. Lacking in a way but can't put a finger on what is missing. The mouthfeel is solid and its very drinkable but not quite what I had hoped

Urbancaver, Jan 30, 2011
Photo of steevo
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%

A. Copper-orange. Quarter-inch head. Lace on the side of the tulip glass.

S. Ripe bananas., pineapple, tangerines.

T. Bitter fruit. Sourdough bread.

M. Slightly fizzy, warming, with a dry finish. Those hops stick around for a while.

D. This brew embodies everything that I think Bell's does right: I'd have another if I had one.

steevo, Jan 30, 2011
The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 1,889 ratings.