The Oracle - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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The OracleThe Oracle

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665 Reviews
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Reviews: 665
Hads: 2,249
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 9.52%
Wants: 454
Gots: 269 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 665 | Hads: 2,249
Photo of WeisGuy
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 9901. Picked this one up just this afternoon and wanted to review it as fresh as possible.

a - pours a fairly hazy, deep golden color, frothy, two-finger light yellow head with great retention and awesome lacing, especially for a 10% beer

s - bitter grapefruit, orange and piney hops dominate the aroma, very resiny, lighter caramel malt and boozy notes

t - relatively balanced up front with the assault of grapefruit and piney hop bitterness being somewhat balanced by a decent caramel malt sweetness, this sweetness is light, but it does provide some depth of flavor to go along with the intense hops, the midpalate is all piney bitterness, the finish is quite dry and bitter, lingering citrus and pine mix with a very light biscuit malt note, there is a boozy heat that sits on the palate for awhile along with the dry bitterness

m - medium-bodied with ample carbonation, good alcohol warming effect, dry finish

d - this is a big beer and it doesn't hide the alcohol wall that well, but the flavors are great and while there is a light sweetness that balances out the hops a bit, it does not reach the cloying level that many big DIPAs seem to move toward nowadays

Really, really good DIPA from Bell's. I haven't had Hopslam in a few years, but this is nearly as good as my memory of that beer. For me, this isn't on the level of Pliny and Dreadnaught, but it's not far behind. (1,392 characters)

Photo of Lukafer
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 9901

Appearance is an amberish color with a pinky of off white head. Smells are sweet malts, some pine and some citrusy and pineapple hops. Taste is sweet with pine hops, slightly citrusy hop finish. Kinda syrupy, medium bodied with a slightly low amount of carbonation. Drinkability is okay, I could maybe do two in a sitting. The more I drink this beer the more bitter the finish seems to get. A solid beer, glad I got my one bottle allotment. (452 characters)

Photo of MbpBugeye
4.52/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was able to buy one bottle of this at From the Vine in Lewis Center. I only hope I can get more at other shops. The fresh batch #9901. Label says 10.0%

A- Nice, bright, vibrant orange in color. Small white cap adorns it. Lots of little pearls of lacing. The beer is pretty thick but not quite syrupy. It looks great.

S- It smells even better. Lots of fruits all over the place. Grapefruits, pineapples, tangerine, peach, lots of pine, lemon-lime, orange candies, and a slight caramel base.

T- This is a bitter one. Starts out with lots of bitter citrus rinds and grapefruit pith. It then moves into some strippingly bitter pine and finishes with a very welcome sweetness of orange candy, pineapple and tangerine. Alcohol will come around for a brief flash every once in a while but other than that its taste is hidden quite well.

M- Full bodied and nearly syurpy. This beer is almost sticky. Carbonation dies down quickly which I think is a good thing. Very resinous and oil bitter hops linger for a long long time. While the alcohol is hidden from your nose and tongue, it warms the palate pretty well.

D- A simply great DIPA. Its not better than Hopslam but its still a big, bruising midwest DIPA. Well worth a try, I just wish there were more of it. (1,261 characters)

Photo of dirtylou
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on-tap, maduro, pre-great taste party

cellphone notes

appearance: pretty dark for a dipa - rich garnet-amber body, foamy tan head

smell: strong malt body, grapefruit peel, bitter citrus, lots of pine

taste: oracle comes through a bit boozier than hopslam with a bigger malt punch - pine is rather intense along with bitter grapefruit.

mouthfeel: relatively large body, high bitterness, alcohol present in the finish

drinkability; good (441 characters)

Photo of blackie
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: standard pint, medium amber in color, nice head

s: malty caramel nose with a strong pine and citric hop presence, dark musty pine, some yeast, nice

m: medium full body, moderate carbonation

t: caramel malt back holds up an assertive pine hop flavor, dark green and sappy, strongly bitter, tropical fruits, a real hop monster

d: good stuff, still prefer hopslam but glad to have had the chance

Maduro, Bell's Great Taste pre-party (437 characters)

Photo of ZeroSignal
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle with Bell's batch code; no date

A - Pours a very clear burnt orange/light amber with a one finger off-white head. Very sticky lacing that clings to the glass like glue

S - Sharp, citric aroma - grapefruit rind and tangerine, pine resin. Smells a bit malty as well

T&M - Very acidic feeling hop bitterness; very pungent (not in a bad way). Big smack of grapefruit and pith; a bit piney. Medium to full body with lighter carbonation. Has a bit of malt to balance. Finish is somewhat sour, spicy and dry with a bitterness that seems to carry on without end

D - A very powerful brew; big on flavors, big ABV, but I can't put it down. About as drinkable as such a big beer could be I suppose. (718 characters)

Photo of glazeman
3.73/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at the Michigan Brewer's Guild tasting: reviewed from notes

A: Dark amber in color with an off white head that had excellent retention

S: This one smelled fairly medicinal to me, with the hop notes being some sort of mixture of floral grapes and a little bit of pine

T: The taste was a tad sweet to start and bitter at the finish. Not much citrus in this beer, but some pine was definitely noticeable. Not my favorite tasting DIPA.

M: A little above average for the category with a nice mouthfeel and appropriate level of carbonation.

D: Something about the taste, causes me to not really be attracted to this beer. It's somewhat plain and not as interesting as I would have liked. The flavors don't sit well enough on the tongue to have me wanting more. With all that said, it really isn't a bad beer though. (828 characters)

Photo of mattcrill
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Map props to malty for allowing me to sample this.

Aroma: Big orange citrus notes up front. Carmelly sweetness well knit into the floral and citrus-like hop notes. Clean ale characteristics.

Appearance: Slightly hazy amber pour with a thick sudsy white cap.

Flavor: More floral hop bitterness up front. A light, bready malt backbone that supports the hops but the balance is decidedly bitter. Finish is clean and dry.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body with medium carbonation. Slight hop astringency and background alcohol warming.

Overall impression: A dangerous, drinkable, well balanced DIPA. Bell's has another winner with this one. Thanks again to malty for the chance to try this. (687 characters)

Photo of jsanford
4.07/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch # 9306, poured into my New Belgium Globe.

A - Hazy orange-amber with a foamy white head that quickly dissipates to a cloudy pillow. Leaves a soapy "sheen" on the side of the glass.

S - I really like the nose on this! Really sweet pineapple, canned mandarin oranges and pine resin with a moderate caramel malt backbone.

T - More pineapple, hops, pine and mandarin oranges. Very well balanced despite the huge tropical flavors. Bit of a bitter finish, along with a definite warming from the ABV. Still, very nice.

M - Medium bodied, bit on the syrupy side. Nice prickly carbonation.

D - Overall an extremely solid beer, well crafted and balanced despite being so "big". The ABV does get to me a bit, so I can't see having more then one. Really wish I could have tried this fresh, it could have been one of my favorites of all time. Still, a great example of what Bells can do, would love to see this added to the seasonal rotation! (940 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #9306, acquired from pochman, courtesy of BA Secret Santa 2009 so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep amber color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick on the glass.

S: The aroma is of fruity citrus, piney hops and caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts with strong bite of hops bitterness that gets followed quickly by sweet flavors of caramel and citrus. The sweetness fades and which allows the hops bitterness to come back in full force. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and brings a good balance. There's also a mild alcohol sting. The after-taste is slightly bitter.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, very good representation of style, this is a good strong hop bomb that is worth drinking for a long time. (947 characters)

Photo of oregonskibum
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. Batch 9306, 8/28/09

A: Color is a fairly bright orange. Pours with a 3/4 inch off-white head that gradually drops off to a thick film on top of the beer.

S: Tropical hops - pineapple - hit the senses first. Some herbal and piney hops are present as well. There's also a definite sweet caramel aroma balancing out the hops. Biscuity. Smells fairly big. Overall, nice smell though.

T: The piney hop blast up front is relatively short lived as a strong biscuity, sweet caramel malt flavor dominates the taste. Really unfortunate as the smell held a lot of promise for this beer. Not a bad taste, but not what it could have been. There is some warming on the finish. Finish is slightly bitter, although most of the hop flavors have already faded.

M: Medium to big body, a touch on the syrupy side. Definitely coats the tongue. Carbonation is fairly light.

D: The very first smell of this beer held a lot of promise, but subsequent smells and the taste were a little bit of a let down. In part, this is because of the beers age (10 months). I think some of the intense hop flavors have subsided. Still a really good beer, just not a shining DIPA and not quite to the point of a barleywine yet. I had no problem finishing the bottle though. (1,285 characters)

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

Draft at City Tap House, 6/7/10.

Pours a slightly hazy muted yellow with a significant white head. Nice lacing.

S-Some pine, grapefruit and lemon hops. Definitely strong and great dry hopping, but not overwhelming.

T-Solid hops flavor without being overly bitter. This was actually a bit sweet for my liking, but I guess that comes with the ABV.

M-Pretty full body with a good bit of thick residual sugar.

D-Overall this was a solid DIPA and definitely above average. Well-made, but I don't believe this is anything spectacular compared to some of the other best DIPAs out there. (Disclaimer: i drank this along with batch 6000, batch 9000 and black note, so Oracle was pretty underwhelming) (696 characters)

Photo of AgentZero
4.39/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Big burnt copper color with a nice white head that foamed up to about three finger. Soap left on the sides, huge sudsy sheeting that was too thick to be called lace.

S - Fantastic, one of the best IPAs I have ever smelled. Great hop profile including touches of pine and grass, little citrus. Bitter resin, but the think about this one that makes it great is a beautiful pineapple smell that comes through exceptionally strong once you start looking at it. Awesome.

T - Great taste, the pineapple is there alone with the usual hops suspects, little citrus, little pine. Bitter finish that lingers and turns sweet after it leaves the mouth. Get a good deal of alcohol burn on it, just a little too much for me to rate this a 5.

M - Medium bodied and fairly syrupy. This bottle was slightly old, which would explain the lack of carbonation. Still a good feel.

D - Good for 10%, although the burn begins to get to you after a while. Did one bottle fine, two might get to be a little bit of a chore. (1,004 characters)

Photo of stakem
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Timmi for providing me with the opportunity to try this due to a prearranged in-person trade at DLD.

Batch 9306 poured from a brown bottle into a snifter. The oracle appears a slightly hazy orange color with 2 fingers of yellow stained creamy head that receeds slowly leaving legs of lace all about the glassware as it receeds. While sipping, lacing appears in patches all over the glass. By the end of the experience, there is still a layer of lupulin infused/stained head still sitting atop the brew. The aroma of this beer is magnificant; smelling of sweet hop goodness primarily pineapple with some hints of orange and some other fruity goodness hanging out in the background. Some minor notes of caramelized sugar comes through in the back of the nose as well with a minor sting of alcohol. Taste is bitter piney hops upfront that are very resine-like in the way the bitterness wraps itself around your tongue and just stays. Other flavors of the hops come off as being slightly herbal and earthy with some slight citrus flavor that just outright dominates the minor malt sweetness that attemps to balance out this bitter hop monster. There is a lingering flavor of hops left in the mouth long after each sip tasting both herbal and piney. Medium feel with a modest level of carbonation. As the oracle warms, the alcohol becomes increasingly evident and exaggerates the already exceedingly prounounced hop character. This beer is phenominal, Bell's needs to brew this again! (1,490 characters)

Photo of sholland119
4.67/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this at Bell's 31 beer tapping at City Tap House, 6/7/10.

A-Pours a slightly hazy honey amber with a generous amount of foamy white head. Nice lacing.

S-You want hops? We got hops! Mostly citrus, with lots of grapefruit bitterness and some nice pineapple, but some nice piney hop notes as well. Excellent.

T-Really outstanding and one of the best of the style I have ever tried. A solid, understated malt backbone with lots of sweet pineapple and orange on the front, some pine sap and then a really nice long bitter grapefruit finish.

M-Medium bodied and somewhat dry. Not at all tiring to drink.

D-Really excellent. Could only have one on this night but would love to run across this one again.

HV (709 characters)

Photo of rfgetz
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly rusting orangy yellow color with nice cap of stiff whiite foam leaving great lacing. Scent is a wonderful, slightly sweet blend of fresh citrus, tropical, piney and floral hops and a touch of fresh cereal grain. The taste is a bright and fresh blend of grapefruit, mango, pineapple with a touch of fresh pine and fresh flowers. Decent, semi-sweet grain profile on the back-end. Medium bodied, perfect carbonation, dry and no lingering bitter aftertaste. A truly unique, fresh tasting DIPA that hides its ABVs well and is not overly bitter. (556 characters)

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)

The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
93 out of 100 based on 665 ratings.