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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: 2,360
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 9.76%
Wants: 452
Gots: 323 | 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: 2,360
Photo of pmoore311
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip in January 2010. Reviewed from my notes.

A = A beautiful copper orange color with a medium white head. Lacing appears on the glass, fairly resinous.

S = Wow! Very citrusy, grapfruit along with a piney astringent smell. This has an amazing bouquet, and is pure hops in the nose.

T = Stinging, astringent and cirusy. Wow what a hop bomb. I am amazed that this beer finishes very crisp and dry without the malty sweetness you get in most DIPA's. Much crisper pinier and citrusy compared to hopslam.

M = Fairly resinous, oily and sticky from the hops, but overall for such a hopbomb was very pleasant and welcoming for the style.

D = Great beer, probably one of the most crisp and bitter DIPA's I have ever had. Not too sessionable given the destruction to the palette from the hoppiness, but would certainly like to see Bells brew this one again.

This is a hop heads beer here, if you like bitter, citrusy DIPA that finish crisp this is for you. I highly recommend this beer.

Bell's please brew this again! (1,050 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It's about time that we have a non-West Double IPA that emphasizes extreme bitterness and abandoning the heavily caramelized grains.

The Oracle starts with a medium copper/medium amber color with a subtle russet hue. A rich head formation of eggshell white foam reduces to a sticky sheet and laces in rings as the beer fades away. A very gentlemanly appearance and has all the hallmarks of great IPA's.

Resiny hops lead the aromatic way with pine, fresh cut grasses, and sharp citrus notes. With all the attention on the hop invasion, the crisp graham cracker malts show timidly up front and is everso fleeting from it's initial impression on- just the way a hop-forward beer should. No esters, no harsh alcohols.

Again in flavor, the malts give a suble caramel base, but that is soon swallowed by intense hop flavor and bitterness- this beer is simply not about the malts. Sharp pine, grassy, and resiny flavors are bold, bright, and command attention at all points in the beer's flavor. Once the malt/hop heirarchy is established in flavor, the bitterness kicks in even more and provides the dry crisp and bitter finish that is rarely found even in the greatest IPA's.

Moderately full and creamy early but those textures are quickly thrown to the wind in favor of a quick transition to dry, hoppy, and crispness. Bitter and resiny til the long, lingering end.

A very refreshing Double IPA because it's rare that these big hoppy beers truely exhibit the intense bitterness and dry character throughout that we see here. It's definately a swift kick to the taste buds.

Thanks a ton Cheezdawg! (1,598 characters)

Photo of youngleo
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I actually bought a few bottles fall of 2009. I forgot to do a review at that time. When checking my fridge, I saw the Oracle hidden in the back of the fridge. So anyway, this brew poured a two fingered head that hung around a long time. Had lots of lacing that left rings with every swallow. Brew itself was copper in color. Also had lots of floaties. Smell of grapefruit was evident as soon as it was opened. Also had a wiff of alcohol and pine. Tasted of heavy pine, grapfruit, alcohol, and malt. Pine was more evident than all the rest. Had a bitter aftertaste. Also left some dry notes in the mouth. Felt good in the mouth. Carbonation was good. I had a buzz after drinking one. You couldnt make this a session beer. But it sure would be nice to be able to enjoy one every once in a while. I hope Bells comes out with the Oracle again in the fall. (852 characters)

Photo of woosterbill
3.91/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle from a trade with kstrickler into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a beautiful, clear copper body underneath an inch of creamy white head. Strong retention and tons of fine, spidery lace. Perfectly gorgeous DIPA

S: Nice hop-forward aroma that showcases pine, along with some tropical fruit, caramel malts, and some alcohol. Very smooth and creamy aroma, but it's pretty clear that the hops have faded significantly in the months since this was bottled. Still, pretty nice.

T: Lots of pine, some grapefruit and mango, and mildly sweet malts toward the end. It's truly delicious up to the finish, but here a massive wave of overwhelming booze. It's really quite a disappointing end to a stunningly tasty beer.

M: Smooth medium body with light, swelling carbonation that ends things beautifully. Very nice.

D: I guess it's hard to complain too much about a 10.4% beer being hot, but this one is far, far harder to drink than the similarly strong Hopslam.

Notes: I can't get enough of how good this beer is at first, but the aftertaste is just off-putting enough to keep this from being one of my favorite DIPAs. Thanks to kstrickler for giving me the chance to try it. I'll have to seek out a fresh one the next time it's released to see whether more dominant hops will outweigh the booze. Here's hoping.

Cheers! (1,320 characters)

Photo of ChadQuest
3.81/5  rDev -9.3%
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. (1,109 characters)

Photo of Brez07
3.97/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing from last months notes. Batch 9306. Thanks to heliosphann for sending this one my way. Poured into a snifter

A: Orange/ruby pour that leaves a 1/2 finger white head. Not much lacing in the glass

S: A blend of hops, sweet fruit and alcohol. Malt is fairly present. Seems like this will be a well balanced beer

T: Good amount of hops, but somewhat faded, adding a bitter quality. There is some sweetness from the fruit trying to break through. Malty finish

M: Medium bodied, pretty smooth and creamy. Good carbonation, slight bitter aftertaste

D: Fairly good. Great beer, but I would stop at one. Alcohol is hidden well, but it creeps up on you with each sip. One of the better balanced DIPA out there (714 characters)

Photo of dstc
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a copper, rouge color with a frothy, light tan head. Head falls slow, sticky lace.

Nice herbal hop aroma with a bit of a sweet malt background.

Bold hop flavor. Not sure where the malt taste is I picked up in the nose. Very hoppy but does end with a sweetness on the tongue then lingering bitterness.

Medium bodied, has an oily slick feel on the tongue and a nice bite.

Decent, easy drinking beer. Another nice job by Bell's. (439 characters)

Photo of kingcrowing
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass, batch 9306

Pours a nice hazy golden pale amber with a super nice fluffy light brown head that's very pillowy and nice looking with good lacing.

Taste very boozy and warming, the hops have faded a bit but it is still very bitter. Much less sweet than hopslam and it makes it a bit harsher on the palate, almost to the point of being cloying. (380 characters)

Photo of Buebie
3.64/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of gford217

Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into an oversized snifter. A rigorous pour has produced about an inch of off white head. Appearance is a murky dark golden orange with hints of amber.
Slick light lace drapes.

Aroma is very biscuit like, plenty of yeasty funk and pankcake aroma.
Mild leafy hops at the nose and no alcohol.

Taste is also bready with big amounts of buttered rolls, plenty of malt backing with a good grainy kick.
Spicy earthy hops, sweet flavors throughout. Pine resin with a bitter mouth puckering grapefruit rind flavor. Finishing with rind and melon flavors. Hops linger, as do some mild malty notes.

Mouthfeel is slick and full bodied with moderate carbonation.

For a dipa this seems to lack in hops at the nose. Hops deliver in taste. The heat that some mentioned is not noticeable to me at all and almost non existent. A good dipa, but nothing exceptionally outstanding. (928 characters)

Photo of Bitterbill
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with an imprint on the label of 9306.

Poured into my new Bell's Brewing glass, compliments of TATTORSO, I see an attractive hazy orange ale with about a finger head of foam. Nice lacing is part of this package deal.

Taking a few whiffs, the hoppiliciousness is something to be admired. Lots of tropical fruit goodness with mangos and pineapples being dominant...like standing in the fresh produce dept at my local grocers. I *could* just sit here and keep on smelling the damn beer but on to bigger and better things like...drinking it!

First sip and whoah, baby. This puppy tastes just like the smell with the grapefruit and mango but a nice tasty taste of oranges joins the party and I'm loving it. Being supremely satisfied with what the hops are doing, I'm now searching for the malt.

There *are* some nice sweetish notes buried way back in the background here that could be coming from the fruity hoppiness but I'm not going to dwell over it. The hops rule this DIPA and that's all I have to say about that!

This is close to full bodied with lightish carbonation and is near perfection for the mouthfeel.

Drinkability? It's a no slouch DIPA weighing in at 10.4%abv but I cannot honestly say the alcohol is all that noticeable in the taste or during the swallow...just some warming after the swallow and a general feeling of all is right in the world. ;^)

This was a tough beer to find but the effort was worth it! Thanks, Bell's!! (1,454 characters)

Photo of Wasatch
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to gford217 for this brew.

Batch 9306

Pours a nice hazy golden copper color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger creamy off-white head, with some very nice thick creamy sticky lacing left behind. The nose is hoppy, with some nice malt notes, citrus aplenty, and some nice pine notes, and caramel. The taste is sweet, a very nice hoppy note, nice little maltyness, citrus, and pine notes, caramel. Medium body, the finish is bitter, and dry. Very Drinkable, this is a very nice DIPA. Been waiting a long time to try this one, thanks Grant! (554 characters)

Photo of Mavajo
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to Buckeyenation for throwing this in as an extra - generous guy.

Pours an amber orange color with a huge, frothy white head. Beautiful sticky lacing - although the lacing continued throughout the experience, the upper part of my glass was especially plastered. Wonderful. My only knock on the appearance would be the haze in the body - a little more clarity would have knocked this up to a perfect score.

Nose is a generous hop punch; citrus and fruity, with notes of pine/grass. The taste follows suit with liberal amounts of hops and bitterness. Where HopSlam is hoppy but very sweet, The Oracle switches it around - the hops and bitterness are jacked up, while the sweetness takes more of a backseat. Either way, both beers make for an absolutely excellent taste. Hot damn does Bell's know how to make a tasty brew. The alcohol is completely hidden.

The mouthfeel is very good. Appropriate carbonation, and fairly smooth - medium bodied. I would have liked it if the body were a bit fuller or creamier, but I'm undoubtedly picking nits at this point.

Another phenomenal DIPA from Bell's. I must confess, this beer wasn't even on my radar - huge thanks to Buckeyenation for solving that problem! Very glad I had the opportunity to try this. I'm amazed at how well this had held up with age - I can only imagine what it must have been liked fresh. (1,365 characters)

Photo of Lunch
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from a 12oz. bottle acquired in a trade into my Bell's tulip glass at the appropriate temperature (03/05/10). I have wanted to try this ever since I had my first HopSlam earlier this year.

A: Beautiful darker, golden amber with some nice orange hues capped with 2 fingers of an off-white head with great retention leaving nice lace.

S: Not quite as good as fresh HopSlam but very close with intense and exceptional bitter tropical fruit hop aroma with tones of citrus, grass, and slight, but apparent sweet malt. Bitterness is certainly apparent.

T: The flavor profile is an exact mirror of the bouquet with bitterness and citrus hops leading the way. Some grassy bitterness along with some tropical are found as well. I'm loving the bitterness from this beer, perfectly done.

M: Medium-bodied with some nice fullness along with moderate creamy carbonation. Nice degree of bitterness in the aftertaste.

D: For a bitter 10.4% DIPA this is very drinkable, but the bitterness detracts just a bit.

Overall this was an exceptional experience and another great DIPA from Bell's. Not quite fresh HopSlam, but if you are looking for well-done bitterness, than this is your DIPA. Highly Recommended. (1,203 characters)

Photo of eat
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review #150 is a free bottle from ritzkiss. Thanks so much! This is my first Bell's. These are hard to come by up here in Canadia, even though we're just across the border from Michigan. LCBO: get your shit together!

An aggressive pour yields only a small off-white head, which fades away to a fine mist of covering leaving some lacing. I wasn't expecting much head from a beer of 10.5% ABV, though this isn't listed on the bottle anywhere. Is it not law to list the ABV in the US? The beer is hazy and a beautiful glowing amber colour, looking pretty wicked in my Maudite tulip.

Huge nose. Tons of fruit: pineapple, papaya, guava, peach, grapefruit...it smells like a cup of fresh tropical fruit salad. If someone blindfolded me and put The Oracle under my nose, I would literally guess that it was fruit salad. Sweet caramel malt to back it up. Surprisingly, there's no trace of alcohol in the nose. I don't think beer can smell much better than this; the kind of smell that makes you salivate.

Although the bottle doesn't state the ABV anywhere, you can tell this is a big beer. I would easily have guessed it to be 9% by taste alone; very boozy. Strangely, I find the taste to be almost nothing like the smell. There's lots of hops but they're of a completely different character. The tropical thing is vaguely there, maybe it's faded with age. It ends up being more generally bitter; earthy and lightly floral with a hint of pine. The finish is quite drying (grapefruit rind) and alcoholic. It reminds me a little of Stone Ruination in its bitterness, but I feel this is more well-rounded with more malt to hold up the hops. I was going to rate it 4.5 but the alcohol is just too hot for me. I've tried a few 10% beers with much less noticeable alcohol than this one. It's not undrinkable by any means, but the alcohol could stand to be smoothed out a little.

Viscous medium body and very lightly carbonated. Appropriate but nothing special.

I'm enjoying this bottle but don't think I would want more than one more. The alcohol is way too hot to be sessionable, both in taste and in reality. You'd quickly either wear out your tastebuds or pass out drunk if you tried. I'd love to find this fresh, hoping that more of the hop character from the nose would be in the flavour. Still though, however old this is, it's a great beer. (2,343 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled December 2009; Batch 9306
A solid, but not overly aggressive pour causes my 25cl tulip glass to foam over. I end up with three-fingers of lightly tan / amber colored head. The beer is a rich, copper - amber color that shows a brilliantly clear, deep copper color when held up to the light. The head is thick with hops and has quite a bit of staying powerr and leaves a nice thick layer of lace on the sides of my glass. Sticky up fron malt notes are framed by a solid, enticing, biscuit-like maltiness. Candied grapefruit zest, tangelo and nice lychee, lemon and even something that is a touch like urea aromatics play a prominent role, but the malt plays a fairly large role here as well (at least it does after a couple months of sitting in the bottle). This has quite an enjoyable nose, and I really like the clean, expressive malt character that is noticeable underneath the hop notes.

As this hits my tongue it is creamy feeling with a hint of diacetyl that is not really distracting in my first sip. A firm, gripping, herbal bitterness becomes more and more noticeable as the beer moves across my tongue. An herbal, essential-hemp oil flavor mixes what I thought was diacetyl, but really seems to be a hop derived flavor. In fact this definitely has a dank quality to it. The herbal hop notes play the lead role, but lots of fragrant citrus / fruit hop notes are found here as well; tangelo oil mixes with grapefruit zest, lychee and piquant tropical fruit notes are all quite noticeable. The malt plays a clearly supporting role here (even more so than in the nose), but still provides a structured biscuit like maltiness, some clean caramelized malt sugars, and a nice whole grain bread like sweetness. This has perhaps just a touch too much body to strike the perfect quaffability I prefer in a DIPA, but it is close enough; light enough to be drinkable, but it does have some sticky palate heft to it. The hop character provides a nice spiciness to this beer that is at times peppery, definitely a touch earthy, but really mostly nicely herbal.

This is quite a nicely "balanced" DIPA at this point. I like the mix of "hemp"-like and fruity hop notes found in this beer. The biting bitterness and bright malt character serve as a perfect anchor for the dominant hop character found in this beer. This is really quite nice at this moment in time. I am curious how this tastes when newly released, but I don't know if it would actually be better than it is right now. (2,484 characters)

Photo of srandycarter
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Beautiful clear dark copper, tons of off white head, tons of lace. Nice.

S - Malty goodness. Hops take a back seat, but are there.

T - Taste follows smell. Rich, lush malt, checked by sufficient hops.

M - Fairly balanced, good coating, nice.

D - I would drink my share, easy to hide this ABV. (300 characters)

Photo of francisweizen
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

cloudy amber brew
smell of hops too

bracing grapefruit
let's go pop

taste is biscuit
hoppy fun
plenty of citrus
for everyone

mouthfeel bracing
fizzy, dry
not too coating
this is fly!

Drinkable?
Indeed it is
another solid one
from those kalamazoo kids (254 characters)

Photo of punkrkr27
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Batch# 9306. Slightly cloudy, amber colored pour with a small, dense, white head. Luscious resiny pine and citrus aroma with notes of mango, orange, red apples, honey and caramel. Intensely bitter with loads of pine resin, balanced by dry earthy malt, pepper, mango, ruby red grapefruit, clover honey, honeysuckle, orange zest and a very floral finish. The body is full and creamy with soft carbonation and a sticky, resiny finish. (439 characters)

Photo of hoppymcgee
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to kzoobrew for this bottle.

Poured from a 12oz. bottled marked "9306" into a Red Stripe pint glass.

A: Golden nugget amber that is translucent (until you get to the end of the bottle where all the good stuff is) and pours with a roaring white head that sits atop the beer the whole way through. Lacing is noticeable, especially with this beer.

S: A little hop character still kickin' here but mostly sticky tree sap. And you know what else? Baklava. Weird, I know.

T: Roasted chestnuts, honey, and a bitter hop finish. Reminds me of the taste of Honeycomb cereal. Bitter aftertaste too.

M: Sticky mcgee. Not necessarily creamy, but makes your teeth gravitate towards one another as you swallow. This makes the beer in my opinion.

D: 10.4%? I don't think so. I don't sense any booze for this ABV and it is medium-bodied at most.

Overall, a nice beer and another one to check off my Bell's list. Wish I could have tried a fresh bottle of this. (957 characters)

Photo of tpd975
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to fogdog for sharing this one.

A: Pours a nice golden hue with a tall foamy head. Nice retention and a good smattering of lace.

S: Lots of bright bitter grapefruit rind with notes of caramel, and candy sugar.

T: Nice tasting beer. Wonderful candy like sweetness with notes of candy sugar, biscuit malt, and toffee. The hop profile is nice. Lots of tart grapefruit juice, with lighter resinous pine notes. There is a hint of herbal grass as well. Darn good.

M: On the fuller side of medium rather full for the style. Smooth feel with just enough hop bite to really carry the flavors.

D: Nice for the style. Larry Bell's knows what he's doing no doubt! (663 characters)

Photo of grub
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

OHLRangers hooked me up with this one in Secret Santa '09. thanks ed!

12oz bottle. sampled feb 12/2010.

pours crystal clear deep dark orange, not quite red, with a small dense cream coloured head. the head drops quickly and leaves spotty lace as it falls.

aroma is great. bright orange and tangerine, big and juicy. caramel. grapefruit and pine. light alcohol. slightly powdery. white bread and cracker. bit of biscuit.

taste is great. grapefruit and a bit of pine. big orange and tangerine, but a little less juicy than in the aroma. slightly boozy alcohol. caramel. bit of toffee. lightly toasted white bread. cracker. hint of biscuit. medium-high bitterness level. as it warms, the sweetness and malty character comes out a little more, lending it a little more of a barleywine character. i also start to pick up a bit of a spicy/peppery aspect too.

mouthfeel is good. medium-large body, but with a fairly drying finish from the hops. medium-low very fine carbonation.

drinkability is great. you get flashes of boozy alcohol, but the assertive bitterness balances it out pretty well, and as it warms the body fills out and it really comes together. (1,157 characters)

Photo of WakeandBake
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A slightly hazy copper color pour with a big fluffy long lasting off white head , leaving streeks of sticky lacing behind , light carbonation. Aroma of sweet pink grapefruit, pineapple , spicy resin and an earthy malt note maybe rye. Flavor is grapefruit up front with a rush of spicy earthy bitter hops , dry toasty grainy malt , and finishing with a slightly alcoholic fruitpunch flavor, like rye . nice warning effect , long bitter finish . slick slightly oily mouthfeel at first till the hops dry it back out and you need another sip , full body , very drinkable but I would not call it sessionable , this stuff will kick you in the nuts. I bet this would be a bit better fresh but it still kicks ass ,I had high hopes for this and was not disappointed thank you bells , and I love you Larry xoxoxoxo (804 characters)

Photo of CrellMoset
4.48/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle courtesy of notCreative - great trader, many thanks! Poured in to a brandy snifter.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy rusted persimmon, replete with some of the finest and slowest carbonation you're going to see in a brew. The natural comparison point for any Bell's Double/Imperial IPA is, of course, HopSlam, so I'll say that this one is far, far darker than HopSlam, suggesting at the very least the presence of some roasted malts in this one's base. The head is, of course, perfection, a dense alabaster cap about one finger tall with fantastic retention. The density is impressive, with only a few faint stray airly bubbles interrupting an otherwise moisture-pregnant crown. The lacing is near complete - that is, it nearly completely coats the sides of the glass, a uniform, gapless sheet of thin and sticky , and slightly thinner but still beautiful on the sip side, adopting that hazed glassy look where it's about 50% legs and 50% interstitial space but everything's so finely detailed and so close together that it's ... well, it's just a treat to look at.

Aroma: Sticky sweet caramel malts intermingle with heavy citrus to suggest tropical fruits, but ... not really. That is, the caramelized sugars are largely independent from the fruit notes, which are really fainter than I suggest above, but it's not like you can have "caramelized tobacco." Because that would be ... insane. But it's near what you have here, with saccharine brown sugar and heavy toffee wrapped up in spearmint, tobacco, thyme, and licorice. It's a little too faint for my liking, perhaps, but what you do get out of it is very nice.

Taste: The comparison with HopSlam careens off the tracks here. While HopSlam is faintly sweet, overwhelmingly citrusy and spicy, Oracle chooses to emphasize the yin to HopSlam's yang, bubbling in pretty much every circle on the hop census form that HopSlam leaves blank. The one overlapping bubble? "Bitter." Oracle does have quite a intense and lingering bite, perhaps slightly less than Slammer, though that might only be perception, given the heavier presence of the base beer here. So what's different? First, the base beer on Oracle is far more caramelized than the simple, light sweetness of the Slam, showcasing light toffee, dry but toasted cracker-like malts, caramel, and faint molasses. Second, the hops are a true collection of east coast notes. Spicy anise is huge, mingling with rosemary and tarragon, wintergreen, tobacco, and pine tar. Sure, a few faintly fruity notes are present - ruby red grapefruit, strawberries, blood oranges - but this one has no illusions about from whence it came. Any ideas the alcohol content (admittedly high) had about bearing its teeth are quickly laid to rest by the aforementioned huge biting bitterness, too, making this flavor profile as flawless as you can hope for.

Mouthfeel: As creamy and even a DIPA as you can imagine, which is what happens when you get a beer this thick and chewy with this much fine carbonation. Given the higher sugar content and the roasty overtones, I think that suits this beer well.

Drinkability: East coast REPRESENT. One thing I've always thought about HopSlam was that - while it had east coast tendencies, showcasing mint, some herbal notes, a few leafy overtones - it was really a hybrid in many ways, also showcasing pineapple, grapefruit, pine, and a lot of light notes. Oracle, on the other hand, knows to dance with the one who brung it. A heavy, thick, biting, and savory alternative to the fruity tooty grapefruit and "If you're going to San Fransisco, be sure to wear a flower in your hair" floral bombs, this one trends to fresh barleywine, and that's a good thing. We need more DIPAs like this, even if the 10.4% abv limits the drinkability. Please Bell's, make this an annual release. It also paired fantastically with some sharp cheddar cheese. If anything, the cheese got its ass kicked. (3,917 characters)

Photo of teovaldi
4.77/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I was lucky enough to score a single 12 oz...didn't even have the option to purchase a 6 pack.

Pours a slightly hazy, almost rust orange color with a lovely 2 finger head.

Smell is of strong citrus hops that jump out and grab you.

Taste is citrus hops of juicy PINEAPPLE, grapefruit and orange. Even more hops than the nose would lead you to believe.

Full bodied with a slight dry finish and almost "harsh" biterness, which I LOVE.

The drinkablity of this definitely suffers from the 10.4% and the bitterness...most definitely a sipper.

Tasting notes from early August (575 characters)

Photo of rhinos00
3.48/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to pecorasc for sharing this one. Poured into a wine glass. Bottled 08.29.09.

A- Pours a very dull amber. Semi-clear with a fingers width of white head...had a very soapy appearance. Some lacing as consumed.

S- Mix of citrus and tropical fruit with a sweet malt backbone. Decent amount of alcohol in there as well.

T- The high level of bitterness and alcohol really masked the nuances of this beer. Upfront bittering hop oil numb the palate. Following is mixture of sweet malts and mango, pineapples, oranges. Finished with a piney bitterness and a hefty amount alcohol.

M- Light to medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Some sticky residue was left on the palate.

D- This was only 10% abv? Felt more like 13% or so. Heavy hitter that was a little hard to put down because of the high bitterness and alcohol.

Overall, I know this isn't fresh, but even so, I think Bell's missed the mark with this one. I'm honestly quite surprised with the positive reviews...especially the most recent ones as those probably had a bit of age on them as well. I'll stick to Hopslam instead. This is just way too big of beer to be enjoyed. (1,149 characters)

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