Dismiss Notice
Hello, is it beer you're looking for?

Learn more about beer. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for as low as 68% off the single issue price.

Subscribe now →

The Oracle - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
The OracleThe Oracle

Educational use only; do not reuse.

720 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 720
Hads: 2,455
Avg: 4.18
pDev: 10.53%
Wants: 457
Gots: 345 | FT: 10
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 720 | Hads: 2,455
Photo of wedge
4.14/5  rDev -1%

PKGD 8/08/14

Hazy orange with an attractively creamy head that sticks to the surface and leaves drippy sheets behind. Aroma certainly hints at a high ABV, but hides the booze fairly well behind a wall of orange, tangerine, lime, pineapple, and floral hops. Just a bit of caramel under it all. Flavor is hoppy and smooth...juicy citrus bitterness, pine resin stickiness, melon, peach, and apricot. Malt presence is low, contributing a touch of residual sweetness for balance. Creamy, bitter mouthfeel finishes dry and leaves a warming sensation in the throat. Pretty nice overall, I'm glad the residual sugars are held at bay.

 632 characters

Photo of barhoc11
4/5  rDev -4.3%

A: Bright gold with a nice white head to it. The lacing on this beer is phenomenal.

S: Citrusy and fruity

T: Tastes a little more fruity than Hopslam and I am a little disappointed with the aftertaste.

M: Good and full

O: I think this is a good DIPA and I would recommend trying it yourself but this isn't something I would kill to have again

 348 characters

Photo of KFBR392
3.52/5  rDev -15.8%

Appearance: pours with a glowing golden orange color. Finger worth of frothy white head. Active carbonation is a touch above average for the style but very fitting. Sticky rings of lacing left behind with each drink.

Smell: pine and oily hops jump out right away. Heavy saturated citrus with notes of grapefruit, tangerines, and ripe oranges. A potent malt backbone packs a semi-sweet punch of caramel and sour dough bread. Bitter hops give a welcome bite on the back end. Resinous pine and hop oils carry throughout and are felt on the finish.

Taste: Sweet malts and touches of booze immediately warm the palate. Potent saturated citrus quickly follows on the front. Joining force and evening out the potent hops is malts notes of bread, toffee, and molasses. Bright oily hops and some herbal pine notes bright this beer full circle.

Mouthfeel: Lots of hop oils. Bitterness and sweet malts play well off one another.

Overall: Lots of similar characteristics to Hopslam. Tasty but nothing I would really go out of my way for. So many DIPAs these days, this one is another face in the crowd.

 1,117 characters

Photo of mjpolzin
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%

Had a chance to obtain a few bottles of this and tried it for the first time alongside Mars. I wanted to get a good side by side comparison of two DIPAs from Bells.

Although this was a solid DIPA, I did not like this as much as many of the other great DIPAs out there and even side by side with Mars, it did not stack up to another similar beer from the same brewery.

I thought the beer had a slightly harsh alcoholic burn. Part of me thinks this beer could actually mellow out and develop nicely with some age but that is always a tricky proposition with a Double IPA.

Glad I got to try this beer but not one of my favorites.

 633 characters

Photo of Homers_Beer_Odyssey
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%

APPEARANCE - Clear orange with a off-white 2-finger head that lasts. Good lacing

AROMA/SCENT - Sweet, citrusy.

TASTE - Bitter, dry. ABV well-hidden.

MOUTHFEEL/PALATE/TEXTURE - Beer is light, well-carbonated, with a pleasantly creamy head.

VALUE - A bit pricey

OVERALL/DRINKABILITY - A very fine beer indeed. Quaffable.

 323 characters

Photo of ksimons
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%

Pours a bright golden orange color with a fingers worth of white head. Tropical fruits, citrus and grapefruit smell.
Taste is great. Light caramel and bready malt, tropical fruits, and good amount of citrus and grapefruit in the finish. Medium body with moderate carbonation.
Overall a delicious DIPA, hard to tell it is 10%, with a nice long bitter finish

 359 characters

Photo of woodychandler
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

I am supposed to be getting out of the bottled beer business, but I saw a notification come across that these were (briefly) locally available and since I am unemployed and disengaged, I hied right over and bought one.

From the bottle: "A double IPA that is sure to make you as all-knowing as Pythia. It's just a matter of interpretation."

From my past: I will NEVER forget teaching Summer (2004) School and one of the students pronounced it as "Thee Oh-Rack-Uhl" and soon, the entire class began to pronounce it that way, despite my attempts to correct them.

Enough looking backwards into the past! I Pop!ped the cap, began an aggro pour and sat back as a pseudo-cascade morphed into three fingers of dense, rocky, eggnog-colored head with frightening retention. I had already angered The Oracle and I had no one to blame but myself, since #TheOldLady has repeatedly voiced her displeasure with regard to how I pour beer (among other things). I watched in awe as it settled, producing sticky lacing that only one of Zeus' thunderbolts would be capable of removing. Color was solid Gold (SRM = 5) with NE-quality clarity, but since we were going Greek today, only Midas and Croesus appeared before me. Usually, I discount their nonsense, but I was also in the presence of The Oracle and I did not want to incur her wrath. I fell to my knees and held the chalice out to them from the position of a humble supplicant. As I did so, I caught a whiff of its nose, a majestic smell, like an entire pine forest had been felled and jammed into the bottle. It was actually NE-plus clarity because this time, The Oracle was going to look into my future! I felt faint. I began to fall backwards when Croesus reached out and grabbed me, bringing the chalice to my lips that I might also partake. I suddenly realized that they respected me, which is why they routinely showed up in my kitchen. I had been mocking them, wrongheadedly, and I vowed to embrace each of them on their next visit. The mouthfeel was a thick and viscous as honey. There was an initial burn on my tongue, followed by a glorious wash of hops and my eyes opened wide. The Oracle was somehow in my psyche and I saw my entire future laid out before me and I understood why mortals should not dabble in such arcane arts! I wanted to forget everything that I had seen, but there was no turning back. I was to become a King Midas of hops. Everything that I would touch after a certain point would become laced with hops! My tongue fell from between my lips and lolled around, overwhelmed by the intensity of the hops inherent in this beer. It was not meant for mortal consumption and yet The Oracle, Midas and Croesus had seen fit to confer me with some of it. The finish was as dry as the desert islands of Alonissos and as my throat constricted, I fell back, into Midas' arms only to awake on my living room couch. Was it all just a dream-like vision or did I really drink this beer? Only Pythia knows for sure!

 2,971 characters

Photo of KornWallace
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Date: 8/28/14
Location: DeCicco's Harrison
Glassware: Snifter

Appearance: Amber to Orange in color with a cloudy fluffy white head. The head is wildly long lasting. Opaque and fairly easy to see through when held to the light. Very nice cling
Aroma: The hops give off a truck load of fruit aroma. Rinds of grapefruit, mango, and pineapple hit hard. In the back there is a light bread malt.
Taste: The fruit again is the star- the hops attack and overpower nearly every part of the palate. Intense hop bitterness.
Mouthfeel: Medium to medium heavy body. Medium carbonation. The hop resins sit on the tongue for ages and leaves lip smacking dry bitterness.

 658 characters

Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.73/5  rDev -10.8%

Bottle purchased at Nathaniel Square Corner Store in Rochester, NY.

Pours a dark orange, with a half inch head, and a lot of lacing.

Smells quite floral and piney, with a bit of grapefruit. No malt is noticed.

The taste is the same- incredibly piney and floral, just smacks you over the head with hop flavors. It's exceedingly bitter, almost to the point of a problem. The bitterness overwhelms any other flavors that might have been intended by the brewer. There's a bit of sweet syrupy malt flavor. No alcohol is present that I can tell.

This one has a fairly big, sweet syrupy body and mouthfeel, with a medium amount of carbonation. A bit of a slow sipper.

Not the best DIPA I've had, there are a few problems here.

 726 characters

Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

App 4.75, Nose 4.25, Taste 4.25, Feel 4.75, Overall 4.25
Bottled on 8/8/14 and enjoyed on 8/24. Poured from a bottle into a Goose Island tulip. Slightly hazy and light orange in color. Low to moderate carbonation, but a rough pour produces a dense, creamy head with good retention and lacing. The nose has sweet bready notes, grapefruit, stewed apricots, and wheat thins.

Very creamy feel for the style. An impressive malt backbone easily supports a pretty potent hop bill that provides an intense quinine-like bitterness. Lots of gnarly grapefruit, pine, and flowery flavors exist all along the palate and linger strongly on the finish. No trace of booziness. The hops basically devour everything.

This is about the third time I've had this beer, but the first time I've bothered to review it. I'm glad I waited because it tastes better than I remember it, though I still don't think it's quite worth the price.

 914 characters

Photo of barnzy78
4.01/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, PKGD 8/08/14, batch 13367, 10% ABV. This is one I've wanted to try for a few years, but never put in any sort of effort to find it.
A 4.75 - hazy and golden in color, frothy off-white head holds good retention leaving thick lacing on the glass
S 3.75 - citric, grassy, tropical - nothing overly spectacular
T 4 - big and bold, pungently bitter with pine and grapefruit rind punishing the palate, biscuity grain with caramel, bread, grass, faintly tropical
M 4.25 - full body, ample carbonation, quite boozy, it's dry and bitter with the pine and grapefruit zest riding out the finish
O 4 - not as balanced as some other notable Bell's DIPAs. I'm not complaining, but I don't think I'd seek it out again. I'll just wait until January for some Hopslam.

 763 characters

Photo of CraftEyeDoc
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%

Alcohol is too noticeable for me. It is very warming right from the first sip. Not what I am looking for in a DIPA. Some sweetness with nice hop flavor but alcohol is on the back end too. Just not what I am looking for in a DIPA.

 233 characters

Photo of Ri0
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

poured 12oz bottle into snifter.

A -Hazy orange with some amber and a 2 finger white head. Fades to a ring and leaves loads of lacing on the glass.

S - Sweet bread drenched in caramel. Hops bring pineapple, some citrus, and pine. Smell is very pleasant and more of a citrus/tropical IIPA.

T - Starts off with some sweet bread and caramel. Then the hops assault your palate viciously. Pine and pineapple take the first hit, then come some citrus of orange and grapefruit rind. Finish is quite bitter and there is some booze to it.

M -Medium body with nice carbonation. Alcohol is warming and noticeable.

O - A nice big IIPA from Bells that seeks balance, but really brings the hops, more so than Hopslam IMO.

 715 characters

Photo of NewGlarusFan
5/5  rDev +19.6%

Poured into a New Glarus Pilsner glass.

Two finger head, clear and a clover honey color. The beer is very juicy and creamy. Hop character is mild, citrusy, orange candies, honey, malt, toasted breads. Awesome beer grab one, it's similar to FFF Apocalypse Cow. It's like a DIPA ice cream that's melted in your glass.

 318 characters

Photo of superspak
4.16/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 8/8/2014. Pours slightly hazy bright orange color with a 2 finger dense and rocky off white head, with incredible retention, that reduces to a large cap that lasts. Dense soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, lemon zest, orange peel, citrus rind, floral, grass, pine, light caramel, bread, and floral/grassy earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of bright citrus/tropical hops and moderate malt sweetness; with good strength. Taste of big grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, lemon zest, orange peel, citrus rind, floral, grass, pine, light caramel, and floral/grassy earthiness. Good amount of pine/citrus rind bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, tangerine, pinapple, lemon/orange zest, citrus rind, pine, light caramel, bread, and floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity of juicy citrus/tropical hops and moderate malt sweetness; with a good malt/bitterness balance and minimal cloying bitterness after the finish. Medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a moderately slick/sticky mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is fairly well hidden with a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent DIPA. All around great complexity and balance of citrus/tropical hops and moderate malt sweetness; and fairly smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,464 characters

Photo of KYGunner
4/5  rDev -4.3%

This pours with a glowing orange color and a stiff mound of bright white foam.

The nose is light, for the style, but I get earthy dankness, pithy citrus rinds, apricots, lemon and tea leaf.

At first the flavor really knocks you over with hops but just a few minutes it settles and opens up. Pine and bitterness are more prevalent but I get some grapefruit, apricot, honey, tea leaf, barley, caramel and cilantro. This is very bitter and astringent but has no alcohol bite.

Well crafted and very complex this is worth a try but not necessarily worth the $.35 an ounce price tag.

 582 characters

Photo of WesMantooth
3.5/5  rDev -16.3%

Deep yellow pour with a huge white head that holds on for a long time. Hoppy - citrus aroma. Taste is grapefruit style citrus with a ton of hops and bitterness from the beginning till the end. Almost like a non coated pill that gets stuck on your tongue. A bunch of pine too. Very slick resiny feel to it. I know my rdev is going to be way off on this an I am in the minority, but for a DIPA, I find this to be very unbalanced and not real enjoyable. As an American IPA, it I would score differently. If you like an IBU slap to the face then go for it for sure. Bell's makes some great beers. They have always been hit or miss with me though. This one is a miss personally.

 673 characters

Photo of DVoors
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Poured golden orange with a finger and a half of khaki colored head. Decent lacing

Honey, pine, and citrus in the nose

Starts sweet (similar to HopSlam). I get honey and sweet cookie followed by piney, fruity, citrusy hop flavor, then it finishes very bitter. The bitterness lingers (in a lip-smacking way)

Thick and resinous mouth feel. Finishes dry and almost chalky, which accentuates the bitterness.

Overall, not the best DIPA I've ever had, but it's up there. Really enjoyable beer that gets better as it warms. If you love 100+ IBU beers, this one's for you.

 568 characters

Photo of GOBLIN
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Overall, I can honestly say that this is a well crafted beer. However, I may have just grown tired of big powerful dipa's. This beer pours a beautiful glowing orange and has very pleasant nose as well. The feel is spot on for the style for a beer that clocks in at 10% abv. But I Found it to be just too sweet and sugary for my liking. I even found it hard to finish the bottle. Like I said . . . I think Bell's has brewed a nice beer with Oracle but for me it's just too much.

 477 characters

Photo of BreakfastStout
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Nice golden cooper hue. Aggressive pour into my Hopslam tulip leaves 1.5 inch head. Lacing linger all throughout the tasting.

Aroma is very similar to Hopslam. Piney floral notes. Not much else.

Instant hop kick to the taste buds. Slightly less subtle than Hopslam, significatnly less balanced than Pliny the Elder. Pliny was on tap, maybe that's the reason. Slightly cleaner finish than Hopslam, which tends to leave a lingering, stronger hop aftertaste. Mars was more subtle then either Oracle or Hopslam.

Overall an excellent example of the DIPA style. Thanks Larry

 576 characters

Photo of tobelerone
3.53/5  rDev -15.6%

12oz bottle into pint glass. This beer was bottled 12 days prior to drinking.

Very slightly clouded dark gold body. Excuse my saying so but the color and clarity put me in mind of urine when one is dehydrated. And now we resume the review.

Impressive off-white head that has great retention. Lacing is quite sticky.

I'm surprised at how mild the aroma is. I get some caramel and breadiness from the malt, floral and almost soapy aromas from the hops. Barely perceptible hint of alcohol.

Interesting flavor. There is a high degree of bitterness, definite aspirin quality here, as well as a soapy note - I didn't just imagine that from the aroma. Alcohol is again present but subtle. Very resinous, plus lots of grapefruit pith and rind. I'm surprised at how dry this is; there is a near total lack of balancing sweetness, the malt character is obliterated by alpha acids, and one is left with a long lasting aftertaste that could be duplicated simply by dissolving an advil on the tongue. By the time one reaches the end of the glass and things have warmed up a bit, there is a very subtle emergence of the malt, bringing a faintly honeyed note, but it's too little, too late and fails to truly salvage the experience.

Medium to slightly full body and medium-lowish carbonation.

I don't know, I much prefer Hopslam, and I don't even like that beer all that much. It's kind of the polar opposite of this, within the DIPA style. This, for me, isn't a very enjoyable beer to drink - it's just not DELICIOUS, and I don't want to drink beer that isn't delicious anymore. I love hoppy beer but the bar has been set a lot higher in recent years and the Oracle doesn't come up to it for me. There are brewers crafting high ABV DIPAs that have explosive hop flavors packed with appealing notes while bitterness is mitigated somewhat. A beer like that doesn't need a pronounced malt character because the hops are handled so artfully and can be left to shine. In this case, the malt backbone is sorely missed, and everything feels out of whack and a little...dated?

 2,063 characters

Photo of Juan611
3.38/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Got this bad boy as an extra from in person trade. Have to say I was stoked. Being from SoCal, I have to say my taste is jaded. I love that piney, resin bite on the tongue but the strong malt presence is a bit of a let down. Pretty decent DIPA though.

 251 characters

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

Glass Used: Tulip

Appearance: An Import from the Mid-West thanks to Pintofbrown. The body is a hazy honey-orange with a generous ivory white egg foam head. Lacing is excellent and clingy as the head shrinks down the sides of the glass. Tiny carbonation bubbles trickle up from the bottom in a random simmering way.

Smell: First comes the botanical hops, followed by piney resin and mild fruits and citrus. Malt is there the whole time. Every inhale seems to finish with some malty goodness.

Taste: The flavors do not tip toe around in your mouth. Right up front is a huge wash of biscuit malt and light sorghum syrup sweetness. I get some light bitter citrus pith mid-palate. Then BAM! The piney, resiny hops sucker punches you in the taste buds. The bitterness from the hops linger around quite a while, teasing you to take another sip.

Mouthfeel: A slick/lip smacking glaze coats the mouth after every drink. Medium carbonation throughout with warming alcohol in the finish.

Overall: This is another hopped up beer from the Mid-west that I really dig. A resiny hoppy beast that was a pleasure to consume and would drink again without question. Any piney, resiny hop lovers would really appreciate this beer.

 1,215 characters

Photo of BrewUSA
4.14/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bells Oracle
Look 9/10
Smell 17/20
Taste 37/40
Feel 8/10
Drinkability 18/20

Overall 89/100

Solid double IPA, nice malt backbone and just the right amount of hops. Fun to drink, just maybe is my own fault for building hype as it took a year or two to get my hands it. Still can't stand up to big brother 'Hopslam' I would definitely buy again, but would not go (too far) out of my way for it~

 395 characters

Photo of Jadjunk
4.17/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

"A double IPA that is sure to make you as all-knowing as Pythia. It's just a matter of interpretation". Brewed in the style of an American Double IPA. This is one of Bell's most sought-after annual limited releases, significantly rarer even than Hopslam. In comparison to Hopslam, however, this is a considerably different beer so there's really no fair comparison between the two. Released in September to limited release 6 pack and draft formats.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a Bell's tulip snifter. Served above 53º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) An aggressive pour develops a medium-thick foamy head of a clean eggshell-white complexion over a mildly hazy amber-orange body. Carbonation is moderate and relaxed. Retention is very good, lacing is light and drooped. There are no evident shortcomings to note in this beer's appearance. 4.5

(Smell) Hop-forward aroma with notes of tropical fruit, herbaceous, resinous and spicy hop bouquet coming in second. In comparison to Bell's other limited release Double IPA Hopslam, the hop profile is noticeably more aggressive and edgy in The Oracle, with a significant bitterness and sharper-flavored hop selections. The malt profile is similar to most Double IPAs of it's kind- with a clean, moderately sweet caramelized malt backbone that compliments well the hop profile and fairly balances the bitterness out without complicating the body. The acidity is moderate, a bit more noticeable than in other Double IPAs, accenting the tropical fruit notes of mango and papaya with apple and possibly some tart cranberry juice. It comes together nicely with an enjoyably complex hop profile that doesn't make any reservations to impress. 4.25

(Taste) First impression reveals a modest, enjoyable malt base of slick, smooth, clean biscuity caramel syrup and a moderate grapefruit hop note to pair before ramping up the hop intensity in the second half. Finishes with a strong alcohol, herbaceous, tree sap hop smack, boldly bitter in its presentation. A prevailing wave of peppery citrus peel and ethanol trails the last sip. Very sharp, strong and undoubtedly not universal to everybody's liking- especially Hopslam fans- this is a remarkably different beast to reckon with. While on the whole a bit rougher around the edges than the median expectations for a Double IPA, The Oracle will certainly meet expectations for fans of aggressively hopped and brutally bitter Double IPAs. 4

(Mouthfeel) Smooth, slick clean malt profile. Carbonation adds a touch of froth and keeps the texture very smooth and creamy, mildly sticky. Body is a medium/heavy for a Double IPA and medium/heavy overall. Alcohol presence is medium/high, very forward in this beer, eclipsing a lighter, cleaner malt profile that just can't begin to counter it. The balance is in favor of bitterness and alcohol, although sweetness is overall substantial enough to keep this beer drinkable and enjoyable. 4.25

(Overall) Don't expect a second rendition of Hopslam, Two Hearted Ale or any bright, sunny west coast-style clean-drinking quaffable IPA when you crack open The Oracle. What's here to enjoy is nothing short of a very assertive complex hop wave of aggressive grapefruit, resinous and herbal hops. Astringencies are almost laudable as a necessary evil in this recipe- they only further enhance the hop boldness and showcase The Oracle as a memorable DIPA for me in that it takes many chances in diversifying the flavor, and comes out as successful with the lot of them. This isn't a Double IPA for the weak of heart! A worthy try for all amongst an extensive Double IPA catalogue. 4.25

Bell's Brewery, Inc.'s
The Oracle DIPA Ale

 3,658 characters

The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
93 out of 100 based on 720 ratings.