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The Oracle | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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The OracleThe Oracle

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-04-2009

User Reviews
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Reviews: 726 | Ratings: 2,503
Photo of jvonsege
4.44/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Golden Amber color. A honey flavor followed by a pungent hop taste. Deep strong grapefruit flavor followed up by distinct bitterness. Long pleasant grapefruit aftertaste. Wish I could have tasted it when it was fresher. I don't taste the alcohol It's well integrated. Thick mouthful

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.24/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a globe.

A: Tawny colored with a good haze that makes it opaque. Fine-bubbled white head retains well. Thin sheets of lacing lazily slide back into the liquid.

S: Strong bouquet of pine. Pithy citrus fruits including grapefruit, pomelo, and blood orange. Apricot too. Sturdy bread and caramel malt base.

T: Pine and pine sap up front. Intense clamping bitterness. Ruby red grapefruit, blood orange, apricot. Perhaps some red fruits too. Bitterness spikes hard in the middle, where it meets a stiff alcohol presence. Toast, crust, and caramel malt flavors struggle to keep up, but do just enough to balance adequately. Long and bitter finish of bracing hop oils.

M: Big and thick in the mouth. Chewy and creamy-smooth. Stiff blast of fine carbonation.

O: This breed of double IPA is starting to become more scarce now that the less bitter Southern Hemisphere hop strains are all the rage, and now that malt profiles in IPAs are largely shrinking. Here we have an intense but controlled onslaught of American hops in all their bombastic, bitter, pine-and-citrus glory. The malt backbone is necessarily hefty to support the hopping, and it is unabashedly big and even a bit boozy. Loud, bold, and brawny. There's nothing small about it, and that's exactly what you should love about it. It's like a 70s muscle car. There will always be a place in a beer geek's heart for a brew like this.

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Photo of SirEbril
3.63/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle dated 7/10/15 so pushing the freshness envelope. Definitely a malty double IPA - tasty but Midwest in style (vs. West Coast) - hides the 10 very well and remains pretty balanced. Orange/tangerine hoppiness, bitter but complex enough to be pleasant.

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Photo of qchic
3.72/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Hazy peach, frothy top. Smells of citric, pine, and sticky caramel. Alcohol is there, and noticeable in the flavor immediately. Not surprising for a 10% DIPA. Pine dominates the flavor, with hints of fruit and plenty of balancing malt to make this a thick sipper. Lots of bitter throughout, but especially in the finish. Don't mind the warming effect, though I see this was bottled in July, so maybe they should release this after the summer.

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Photo of Frozetoes
3.37/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Expected a bigger punch right of the bat but it wasn't there. However, the taste lingers along with the IPA bitter. Interesting. The 10% Abv might restrict my intake at the bar, so I'll have to try it at home.

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Photo of jimbus
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Passion fruit, tangerine, and some dank apricot. The IBUs and pine rip your teeth. Lacing like a boss, coats the glass thick as pond scum. Carbonation on point. I can feel my chest hair growing.

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Photo of RyanPoff
2.83/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up from Whole Foods.

A: A hazy apricot glow with about two fingers of off white head and excellent retention. Awesome.

S: Floral hops and quite a bit of sweetness/sugar. Almost like cotton candy or bubble gum. Could use a little more in your face hops at the front.

T: A lot of piney and citrus hops. A weird candy, gum taste with a weird astringency and sour aftertaste. i couldn't finish it.

M: Nothing was bad about it, but I hated the test.

I wouldn't buy this again. Maybe I got a bad bottle or something, but this just didn't do it for me at all.

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Photo of razorsdescent
4.73/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A beer I have been excited to try, poured from the bottle into my trusty tulip glass.

L - A wonderful golden orange color, with a slightly off white head. Wonderful champagne tight carbonation. Resinous lacing abounds. - 5

S - Pine, a hint of citrus, and some astringency, actually lots of astringency, especially as the beer warms. You know from the smell that it has some booze. This hits the low note for the beer, it is simply too astringent to be perfect - 4.5

T - the all important taste category. Pine dominates, and makes this a fairly bitter brew. There is some slight citrus and honey, I cannot tell if the latter is due to the 3 months between bottling and pouring, or not. You can taste the booze, but it is not overwhelming. The aftertaste is fairly boozy, and has slight hints of bubblegum - 4.75

F - This feels right. That tight carbonation, and resins which coat the tongue make for the perfect accompaniment. - 5

O - Bell's has hit a triple-run with this beer. While I don't like it as much as Hopslam (one of my true beer loves) or even Mars when it was released, it is a wonderful beer. If it had a less astringent smell, thus hitting that taste score one iota up, it would be another perfect beer from Bell's. I want to taste this fresher so I can figure out if the sweetness is inherent, or due to age. -4.75

Had prior to my last bottle of this year's Hopslam, and I feel it compares quite favorably.

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Photo of Tonyjenlasc
2.99/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 2.75

Bottled 7/10/15

Look - Awesome honey color, hazed
Smell - Floral, herbal, malty, dank
Taste - Overly floral/herbal. A little dank. Crazy bitter and astringent. Almost hard to drink.
Feel - Slightly creamy. Sticky and dry

Overall - This beer was a huge disappointment for me. Maybe I got to it past it's prime. It was kept cool though and figured the 10%ABV would make it hold up a little longer. Who knows. This one was tough to finish. Not my cup of tea.

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Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Speiglau glass.

Aroma is malt bomb, initially worried me that is was an out of date beer but its still less than 3 months old. Some herbal hop notes.

Taste is herbal lemon hops with a strong malt balance. You can really taste the 10% without the alcohol just from the malt.

Excellent beer, not easy drinking but fun to drink.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, dated 7/10/15

Hazy orange golden color, bright white head. Good head retention, and lots of lacing.. strong hoppy aroma of citrus zest. Mild biscuit malt flavor is dominated by the hop bitterness and flavor. Drier finish. a bit too bitter for me. Medium body, mouthfeel is a bit sticky.

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Photo of VTR
3.47/5  rDev -17%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I opened the bottle and started to pour. Before I could even see the beer in the glass the pine, grapefruit, resin notes all this my nose. Surely this can be a good sign because I enjoyed the scent while not being a huge IPA fan. First sip was a little harsh from maybe the alcohol or maybe the huge amount of hops, I don't know but it did get better on the second sip opening up with the pine and grapefruit. I read in one of the views below something to the effect of this is what hopslam wishes it was. Well I love Hopslam but found this hard to finish. The bitterness and to me lack of a big malt backbone made it somewhat not enjoyable. A few beers later the bitter taste was still lingering in my mouth. Some people will enjoy this IIPA but it was not for me.

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Photo of mtomlins
4.21/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours an orange-copper hue, short white head that falls quickish to a nice creamy color leaving excellent lacing. The nose hits with floral, spicy, pine tar hops, caramel malt and some alcohol. The taste is a whack-ton of piny, bitter, astringent hops as well as sweet, caramel malt...a palate wrecker. Creamy, round and a bit syrupy on the palate. High powered test, an agressive DIPA.

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Photo of creepinjeeper
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. Bottle poured into a snifter.
Look: Hazy orange cloudy. Fluffy off white head that settles into nice lacing.
Smell: Orange rind, honey, mango, pine.
Taste: Citrus, tropical, pine, little boozy finish.
Feel: Piney hop finish.
Overall: Everything a DIPA should be and more.

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

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

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

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

A: golden to neon orange. Amber hue

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

T: bitter up front malty back. Quite boozy

F: boozy bite. Bitter palate

O: not bad. High booze. High piney bitterness

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Photo of neenerzig
4.29/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I was in the right place at the right time a few weeks ago to bet the word about one of a very few stores if not perhaps the only store in the greater Cleveland area that got 6 packs of this in when Bell's released their bottles of this this year. From what I understand this year is the first year that Bell's bottled this beer, and they only bottled very limited batches. Poured out of a 12 oz bottle into one of my tulip glasses, this beer pours a somewhat cloudy, hazy, medium golden/copper color with a nice white, fluffy looking head that is about an inch thick when poured and lots of little streams of bubbles rapidly and continuously rising to the beer's surface. The head eventually settles to a solid 1/2 of an inch thick with quite excellent retention and very nice lacing as well. Aromas of citrus, piney, and pineapple hops along with a nice toasted caramel malt presence. Has an exciting hop profile of citrus, mango, piney resin, and pineapple with perfect bitterness that is all followed with a nice, toasted caramel malt sweetness along with a good hint of honey. A very nice flavor balance, but the hop bitterness does dominate a bit here for sure. Has a slightly crisp, but really a mostly creamy, frothy, smooth, resinous, slightly oily and chewy, full bodied mouthfeel with fairly minimal carbonation, which is surprising given the massive streams of bubbles this beer had when it was first poured into the glass. Has a clean and dry finish and the bitterness really likes to linger here. And that's a very nice thing. A very good DIPA here from Bell's!


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Photo of HorseheadsHopHead
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 bottle into a stem glass. Packaged on 8/08/15.

LOOK: Cloudy golden orange with a thin white head.

SMELL: Grapefruit, orange, apricot, pine, caramel, toast, and booze.

TASTE: Thick, interestingly balanced, warm. Nice grapefruit, orange, lemon, apricot, and pine hops flavors balanced against sweet malt notes of caramel, toast, and honey. The alcohol is quite noticeable, too. Warm on the swallow.

FEEL: Full-bodied. Creamy carbonation. Nice and thick for an IPA, almost as thick as stout. Sticky hoppy aftertaste of grapefruit, orange peel, and pine.

TASTE: While I have had better double/triple IPAs, this is pretty damn tasty. Worth buying, for certain.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured on tap in a tulip, the beer is a hazy, caramel orange coloring with a tall, foamy, bubbly, off white head. Aromas of orange rind, pine resin, grapefruit, pineapple, subtle caramel, and a grassy highlight. Flavors are tart and bitter forward, heavy on grapefruit and tropical fruit, with a resinous pine pitch and bitter mossy undertone. Very balanced on a full, robust, dry body. Aftertaste is very dry and bitter, with a tropical fruit sweet blending with all the hops notes. Smooth and dry finish, with a resinous linger.

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Photo of tigg924
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours hazy, yellow-brown in color, with amazing one inch head. Wow what a hops assault. Bells is not fooling around here. Get pine and grapefruit hops with a bit of lemon. There might be a tad bit of malt, but there is not much to speak of. This is the definition of a sipper. Really good and hoppy beer. Could only do one in a session, but will get this again if I want a super hoppy beer.

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Photo of jooler
3.56/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Initial smell is of cigarettes and initial taste is sweet but extremely alcoholic. It is a good balance of hops an malts but the alcoholic boozy taste ruins it for me

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Photo of morimech
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

07/10/15 Bottle date so getting a little old.

Hazy orange color with two fingers of head that settled to a thin cap. Heavy lacing is left down the glass during consumption. Sure is a looker.

Good hoppy aroma of citrus. Notes of orange, grapefruit, and possibly pineapple. There is a malty component that gives a bit of a toffee note.

The hops are strong in the flavor. I get a lot of orange, little bit of grapefruit, pineapple, tropical fruit like mango or passion fruit. Enough malt sweetness is present to not make this a punishing bitter DIPA and one dimensional.

Lovely body and carbonation. Full body and luscious texture.

Very enjoyable DIPA that I find harder and harder to enjoy. I liked the hop choices and the little bit of malt that dampens the massive bitterness.

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Photo of mabermud
4.21/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: Opaque, dark orange body. Fine, puffy, white head. Stickier lacing than most. The sun does not penetrate this fine beverage. Extremely attractive.
Smell: Sweetened and balanced tropical fruit with citrus, plus a good dose of pine.
Taste: Some sharp orange and grapefruit hops. Nice and balanced flavor. For me, this has a longer finish.
Feel: Sincere. Silky or creamy? Chewy ending. I like it.

Overall - Nice hop foundation. This beer looks awesome and also has a nice chewy and smooth fell in the mouth. This is one I would have again. Not bad at all.

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Photo of ARoman
3.69/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. The aroma is a bright toffee, tropical, floral citrus blend with an undertones of light woody, alcohol, and burnt molasses; not too similar from a fresh barleywine. It pours a murky pale orange with a white, small suds, filmy head that has good retention and lace. It's highly bitter with a medium citrus sweet, but the bitterness dampens with warmth. The texture is chewy, sticky, and a bit syrupy with a fuzzy carbonation and a full body. The palate contains a strong grain character with a burnt quality as well as bitter citrus, wax, floral, and a strengthening caramel note late. The finish is initially crisp zippy with a bread crust quality although it loses this edge with warnth and turns smooth and syrupy. There's a resinous and waxy, cloying aftertaste with notes of bitter cough medicine and a strong bitter floral; overall it's aftertaste is prominent and lingering. This definitely qualifies as a west coast palate wrecker, and best served at cellar temp.

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Photo of Taybeh
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle (bottled 7/10) into a Bell's snifter

a: golden apricot with a little haze and a nice 1 finger creamy that sticks around alright. great lacing.
s: some clovery floral notes, sweet mandarin oranges, caramel & honey, little edge of pine. fairly sweet (which I don't usually like, but this I like a lot)
t & m: like the nose, but more towards the floral and pine side of things than the juicy fruit. This is potent and a little boozy, very warming. really nice bitterness that lingers and is a very pleaseant complement to how sweet everything seems initially.

i prefer this one to love the label

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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
93 out of 100 based on 726 ratings.