The Oracle - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
The OracleThe Oracle

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,229 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,229
Reviews: 669
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 10.77%
Wants: 454
Gots: 258 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-04-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,229 | Reviews: 669
Photo of mulder1010
3.85/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes. 12 oz bottle poured into a globe glass

A-- Poured a hazy golden brown. Off white head that went to film quickly. Good head retention and good lacing to this.

S-- Very earthy smell of pine, citrus and grapefruit. Slight smell of alcohol and doses of toffee.

T-- Earthy taste. Lots of juicy grapefruit and orange. Also healthy toffee taste.

M-- Very hearty feel. Low carbonation and heavy feel to this. Felt very dirty, or grainy toffee with grapefruit and orange.

D-- Western US DIPA's are more me with the doses of citrus and smaller amounts of Carmel or toffee. Still a good beer but was not that fond of the grainy toffee feel and dirty grapefruit and orange. Would seek out again. Did feel the ABV to this and in some ways prefer the more hidden West Coast versions.

Photo of Kadonny
3.85/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from tap at TJs in Paoli PA into a snifter glass.

A: A medium orange color with a one finger white head. Glass lacing is left on the entire glass and is sticky never leaving.

S: Sweetness. Sweet fruits, caramel malt, pine and some herbal hops.

T: Citrus flavors start off with grapefruit, mango, pineapple which give way to the huge caramel malt sweetness that builds. Some bitterness creeps in towards the rear with some pine and herbal notes. Finish remains bitter with the sweetness turning almost sugary and a huge alcohol kick. Finishing flavors really linger too.

M: Full, coating, sweet and bitter, very boozy and nice carbonation.

O: I had really, really great expectations for this beer and felt let down. The sweetness on this beer does not work near as well as Hopslam and I think the booze shows too much.

Overall I'm really glad I got to try this on tap, and had huge hopes that it could rival Hopslam, but alas it didn't. Solid beer, but not one I would go out of my way to get again as there are much better DIPAs out there.

Photo of mashweasel
3.85/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 1 September

Had one last night at Pracna. Meh. Mediocre and insipid. Quite hazy. No real punch of hops in the nose. A bothersome used tea bag flavor without the real kick of hops or hop flavor. The HopSlam is a closer to a proper DIPA that this thing. Its hard to say it b/c Bell's is my favorite brewery from my home state.

For anyone that has ever had a true DIPA (Blind Pig, Pliny, Green Flash IIPA, etc) you will be disappointed. For the rest that love IPAs that arent really bitter IPA's but fat, sweet, boozy amber liquids, this one is for you. It didn't even smell right. Two Hearted has a much hoppier nose...

I'm not sure how people can compare it to a proper San Diego DIPA and then not rank it on the same comparison. 'Not really like what its supposed to be like. A'

Photo of Intimidtor
3.85/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My sister who lives in Michigan brought these to me for Thanksgiving. I must say that with all the hype I was expecting alot more. Good all around beer with a strong alcohol burn and kick.
A-nice golden amber mixture with about 1 inch of head. Nice and sticky with decent lacing.
S-Smell was inviting, hops, carmel, slight pine, strong alcohol aroma
T-Good overall flavor but again strong alcohol flavor, could have been more hidden.
M-Nice and smooth with a clean finish
D-Couldnt drink too many in one sitting but could defintely drink again. I will let the remaining bottle age a little. Looking forward to try the HopSlam

Photo of neorunner
3.85/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured into Unibroue tulip glass. A cloudy tangerine color with 1/4 of light cream colored head. Almost no lacing with a small spotting of head left over at the end.

S- Mild floral aroma reminiscent of hopslam.

T- Slight hint of grain/malt hidden under the hops. Cream flavor gets cleaned off your pallet by the bitterness of the hops fairly quickly. Slight residual bitterness at the back of your tongue with the finish. Reminded me of a orange creamsicle / orange rind taste.

M- Body is light with a touch of cream, residual bitterness for a couple seconds after tasting.

D- I would drink another, but given the choice between this and a hopslam I would choose a hopslam.

Photo of BB1313
3.86/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

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.

Photo of bigfnjoe
3.86/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. Batch 10588, bottled on 8/12/11. Welp, nearly four months old...hope it's been stored properly

A- pours a slightly cloudy shade of orange with a thick, one finger offwhite head. Lacing is magnificent, all the way around the glass. Looks gorgeous

S- oranges. Yummy, but a little muted

T- nice sweet burst of citrus, with a tad bit of bitterness at the end. It's slightly muted because of the age, but not overly so

M- pretty thick bodied...close to being syrupy

O- would like to try it fresh, don't think I got the FULL experience....but it wasn't bad

Photo of siege06nd
3.86/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of waltersrj
3.87/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pour: Dark, golden yellow with hints of brown and a quickly dissipating white head.

Nose: Pine, dank hops, slight citrus (grapefruit and lemon), alcohol and sort of a cardboard smell but not in an oxidative way.

Taste: Slightly sweet hop oils, slight cardboard, hot alcohol, pine, slight citrus and a caramel backing.

Mouthfeel: A little heavier than I'd like but not too heavy or out of whack for the style.

Overall: Moderate for the style. Definitely too much unhidden alcohol and only a slight citrus bite. Decent but not really what I love in a IIPA.

Photo of tjthresh
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours rusty orange with a rough and clingy white head. The nose make the think of dried powdered citrus fruits, a bucket of heavily diluted Pine Sol, and tree bark. Lots of big hoppy bitter flavors, but they are not as juicy as I think IIPAs typically are. The malt character is also like dry caramel. Bitter as all hell, for sure. Dry as an old chicken bone. This is a sipping beer for sure.

Photo of BigJim5021
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours somewhere between orange and copper with a big, lasting white head. Quite a bit of lacing.

Aroma is mostly piney hops (cascade?) and a hint of caramel malt. Some grapefruit too. It smells good, but I expect bigger aroma from a DIPA.

Flavor is all the components that you get in the nose, but more pronounced. Piney, resinous hops dominate, but the caramel malt backbone and citrus fruit play a nice supporting role.

Mouthfeel is a beyond medium with a good deal of stickiness from the hops.

I could put back a couple of these before the pine and strength kicked me in the dick. All that said, this beer is nowhere near as spectacular as Hopslam. I tend to wonder why it's even necessary to make multiple beers within the same style. I suppose I shouldn't complain, as this is still a very solid DIPA

Photo of avaldivia
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of harrymel
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottled 12AUG11

A: Pours a rustic orange ale with a transient white, short head. This falls to a broken sheet of the same leaving cobweb lacing. Excellent clarity.

S: Oats, onion, sage, citric rinds and musk. A strong, sweet malt backbone tells me that this beer would actually benefit like a mutha from a year in the cella! Take that naysayers.

T: Bitter with a tea like follow through and enough early hops to put the malts in check and helps make this a really hearty beer. Far reaching on the back end is a crystal malt and some really nice spiciness.

M: Medium on heavy body with moderate card come together and give this a silky feel. Dry finish.

O: this is a very atypical take on the style for the East Coast IMO. The beer is spicy, earthy and complex. It reminds me of the difference between a WA Cab Franc and a French Cab Franc, the mineralic and seemingly inorganic profile is acquired, but welcomed in my home. I really wish I had an herbed and roasted chicken and mashed potatoes and some peas with pearl onions to go with this beer.

Photo of Monkeyknife
3.89/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle a hazy gold color with two fingers of off-white head.

Big grapefruit and grassy aroma.

Saying the taste was big and boozy upfront is an understatement. This was a beast. Once it warmed, notes of orange and carmel malts revealed themselves.

Medium bodied with a moderate carbonation.

This one had a bitterness that nearly overpowered any noticeable flavors.

Photo of andrewjraab
3.89/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a burn orange with a decent head that quickly disappears. A think layer of foam is present from start to finish. Nice webbing and stick throughout.

S - Vibrant citrus notes pop out, resinous smell, underlying floral scent.

T - As you would expect with a DIPA - a punch in the mouth of hops follwed by a nicely balanced smooth finish. Bitterness present throughout.

O - This is another solid offering from Bell's. I would say this is more drinkable than hop slam but mayble lacks a bit of hop slams character. I wonder if this is a one off from the two hearted recipe or if any inspiration came from two hearted as it has some of the same smell.

This is definitely a must try. Enjoyed it very much.

Photo of redsox3g2
3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Poured a bottle into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass.

The head on this was perfect, thick and tasty. The first sip was delicious. Not your typical IPA hoppy flavor, but more sweet and you can definitely taste the high alcohol content. Honestly it was not the type of beer I was expecting, so it was a bit of a disappointment off the bat. The first few tastes though were very good, and an incredibly rich and complex flavor made it one of the more interesting beers I've had in a while. A little over halfway through, however, the strong sweetness of the flavor made it tough to finish. I could see how a lot of people would absolutely love this beer, but for me it's not hoppy and bitter enough...I'm not a big fan of the sweet and fruity flavoring. Also, it is the kind of beer that if I had it in a flight I would love, but the full bottle was too much of the strong, unappealing flavor for me.

Photo of FRivard
3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a brewery goblet. batch 9901.

Appearance is a soft caramel golden hue. poured a one finger creamy head.

Smell is very hop forward and resiny a bit fruity and some honey peeks through as it warms.

tasted very piny and earthy hops definetely at the forefront balanced well for a DIPA the malt is definetely present as the alcohol makes its way forward at the end.

mouthfeel is very warm and inviting hop forward and finishes a bit dry very earthy.

drinkability as it warms it releases a fruity aroma as the hops blend a bit more definetely could enjoy another at the same sitting.

Photo of argock
3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a Duvel tulip. Batch number 9901 on back label (August 23, 2010, bottling date). Single purchased at Beer Run (Charlottesville, VA) for $4.

A: Hazy orange-tangerine with 2-finger, off-white head with good retention for the ABV and a wide band of crusty lace.

S: Crisp, bright hefty West Coast hoppiness with pineapple, grapefruit, and pine resin mingling with light aromas of pale malts with a bit of toasted caramel malt as well. Not a balanced beer.

T: Hops, hops, and (thankfully) more hops with this very good brew which features big tropical fruit flavors cut with resinous bitterness and enough pale malt to hold it together. Bursting with pineapple, orange, resin, and pine, the only trouble spot is the not-so-well hidden alcohol which enhances the harshness of the hoppiness (not a problem) but does present some faint fusel qualities. All in all, though, The Oracle hits all the right notes for a big-time West Coast DIPA.

M: Full-bodied and it mixes just the right amount of stickiness and smoothness. Aftertaste is pineapple and resiny bitterness.

D: I really liked this brew a lot -- it is a lot less subtle than Hopslam or Hop Wallop, but the brashness of hoppiness it represents is done very well. A must-have for hopheads out there.

Photo of Axnjxn
3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a teku glass. 8/8/13 bottling date

Pours a darker orange with a 2 finger white head with superb lacing. The smell is very subdued on the hops but what i do detect i really like. The taste is very bitter up front. Very bitter. Good amount of malts too though. Grapefruit dominates the palate. The bitterness definitely lingers too. Medium bodied with mild carbonation. 10%ABV undetectable.

Overall not world class by any stretch of the imagination but very drinkable for 10%. Not very complex. Doesnt touch hopslam or even 2 hearted, so dont go out of your way for this one. Still, recommended.

Photo of CooperEllis
3.91/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz into .3l tulip in from mistakebythelake today and, as he is feeling like the hops might already be fading, popped it at once.

Great color, nice clear, bright copper with a thin head.

I'm not smelling much off the top but sweet hops.

Very complex hopforward taste. There was a bit of bitter, but a lot of sweet, floral notes underneath. I could see where these tastes may be more pronounced, but I'm finding this 'age' is certainly enjoyable.

Evenly weighted, a bit of booze in the feel, and s slightly oily feel up front.

I'd drink it all day if it weren't 10% abv.


3.91/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bells Oracle

Appearance: The “other” DIPA from Bells pours a beautifully rich, slightly hazy golden orange of a ridiculously effervescent quality. It is crowned with an utterly perfect two fingers of cream-colored head that is as dense as homemade whipped cream; it flatly refuses to dissipate, almost to a fault, and, when it eventually does dissipate (which required drinking some first), it leaves heaps of lacing all over the glass. This beer looks absolutely magnificent and ranks among the best looking beers out there. 5/5

Aroma: Oracle explodes out of the glass with a blast of extremely dank pine resin, intense lemon and grapefruit rind (but not a hint of the sweeter flesh of either fruit), grassiness, and perhaps the tiniest suggestion of orange and pineapple. The malt bill is very clean and somewhat weak but does impart a slight twinge of sweetness. The alcohol is really the only detectable sweetness in the beer. This is outrageously intense to the point of being overwhelming. Imagine Hopslam on steroids minus the balancing quality of the honey sweetener. 4/5

Taste: If possible, the taste takes the aroma up yet another notch in bitterness. This Bells offering is ludicrously bitter, and this fact cannot be stressed enough. Despite the sweet alcohol and the minimal malt bill noted in the nose, have no illusions: this is not even close to balanced. It is nothing but a piney, grassy, rind-y assault so over the top that no other flavors are even detectable, other than an exceedingly mild sweetness in the back end that ends up feeling like five-minute rain shower in the Sahara. It is strange, but the bitterness in this beer is a bit herby and vegetal, almost like really fresh kale (without the taste of kale) or chewing a mouthful of fresh cut grass. There is not much depth or balance here. In a word: intense. 3.5/5

Mouthfeel: The viscosity is very moderate, exactly where one would want it in a beer like this. Unsurprisingly, the astringency scorches the tongue and mouth nearly to the point of unpleasantness, which also makes the finish insanely dry. Carbonation is perfect, and the beer is surprisingly drinkable (or would be if it were not so impossibly bitter). Each sip leaves a nice stickiness on the lips. The mouthfeel is exactly where it should be if it were not for the overdone astringency. 4/5

Overall: Wow. Just wow. I did not know what to expect coming into this beer, but Hopslam this is not. This is without a doubt the most bitter beer I have ever drank, and I’ve had Palate Wrecker, Ruination, Abrasive, Arctic Panzer Wolf, Double Sunshine, Resin, etc. Mark this down as the only beer I have ever had trouble finishing alone due only to the bitterness. I would say that this is the hop-lover’s dream, but I am a hop lover, and this was still too much. With a more assertive malt bill, Oracle could really shine; it need not be totally balanced or anything, but some semblance or hint of balance has got to make itself known. The beer is top notch in craftsmanship and to style (if ultra-bitter DIPA is a style), but when I have trouble finishing a 12 oz. of this and can put down bombers of Arctic Panzer Wolf with no trouble, well, there might be a problem. Looking at other reviews, I feel like there must be a lot of bottle variation with this beer, since I got almost nothing but resin, but others note ample tropical fruit. Regardless, in summation, seek this out if you are a masochist. 16.5/20

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

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

Photo of woosterbill
3.91/5  rDev -6.5%
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.


Photo of detlefchef
3.92/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark orange-brown color with full but not overdone head. Wouldn't mind a bit more clarity though.

At very first smell, I didn't get much hops but subsequently gave off nice piny and candied pineapple aromas.

Lot's of booze on the palate and a bit disjointed. Just seems like a lot going on without much holding it together. Nice, juicy finish but just seems sort of blown out. Keep in mind, fair or not, I came in expecting something more special. Tasted blind, I may have thought is was good enough.

For the level of booze, however, it does drink pretty easily.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to kzoobrew for sending me this one!

Pours a clear light copper orange with a 1 inch off-white puffy head that fades to a thin cap. Thick rings of foam line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of floral and herbal hops that dominate over any other scents. Taste is of pineapple and grapefruit with a very bitter citrus zest and herbal finish. An assertive bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a light carbonation with a medium body and a slightly sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good DIPA with some aggressive hop aromas and flavors that bash the palate.

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