The Oracle - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
The OracleThe Oracle

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

2,184 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,184
Reviews: 664
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 10.77%
Wants: 437
Gots: 268 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-04-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,184 | Reviews: 664 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.16/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

neat double ipa, but i think its less distinct and unique than some of their others, and certainly less so than the best in the game, although its hard to fault this because its awesome. i like that it has a little lighter body than many, and that despite it, the booze isnt exposed. i also like how dramatic the hops are in the aroma, no grain weighing on them at all. its a well designed beer for that reason, but the taste to me, as fresh and tasty as it is, is nothing overly unique. its like a lot of good ones, but lacks the touch that sets the best ones apart. its the most like a west coast style of the several that they do i think, but its not as resinous. the hops are clean and only middle of the spectrum bitter. i love that. carbonation is high enough to cut through too, which helps it stay lighter. even as it warms it stays relatively easy. i think the packaging is some of the coolest out there too, and the beer is lovely, but it just doesnt stand out for me all that much from the top tier of big ipa. bells has no misses though, thats a fact.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.58/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a snifter at Beer Bistro North.

Finally getting to lay my tastebuds on this elusive DIPA. It pours a clear brass topped by a finger of lightly off-white foam. The nose comprises grapefruit zest, pine needles, honey, and sickly-sweet caramel. The taste pretty much brings in more of the same, but now everything is more powerful: The grapefruit is heavier, the pine is sharper, the caramel is sweeter. It's all a bit much, especially when the sweetness and the pine mix together to form a mild menthol kind of character in the finish. The body is a hefty medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a thick feel. Overall, a solid DIPA, but one that seems to be too big for its own britches. I'd drink another, if only to figure out where the fanfare for this beer comes from, especially when a slightly more refined version can be more easily obtained (at least, in these parts) in the form of HopSlam.

Photo of zeff80
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a clear, copper color with a one-finger, off-white head of bubbly foam. It left thick rings of sticky lace on the glass.

S - It smelled very piney with citrus aromas. It had a slight roasted malt aroma, too.

T - Fantastic. Big piney flavor with a citrus kick, nice spices and burnt toast maltiness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry, clean finish.

O - This is outstanding. So glad I was able to try a pint on tap. Great beer.

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

Still smelling extremely fresh bottle on date is 8/12/11, I've been waiting to try this DIPA for quite some time, or at least since it's been released. Pours a deep copper color with a bright slightly off white head leaves fine even bands of lacing. Sorry Hopslam fans no honey additions in this one, but the nose is full of citrus fruit and mild pine and bark. Sugar coated hops come about with each sniff this is some serious hop candy. Flavor dawns me with a spicy mild herbal bitter dank citrus fruit peel tone. Hints of bright caramel for a second followed by a candied hop garden, kissed with warming alcohol while the beer is still pretty chilled. Mouthfeel has warming alcohol, with a touch of hop oils going smooth with even carbonation. Overall I'm loving the hops in this one I could use this with less alcohol and the same hop profile sweetness is ample not over played a pretty balanced midwest hop monster.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

Photo of Kegatron
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a tulip glass. Thanks go to lurchingbeast for a few of these in trade. This review kind of slipped through the cracks on me, as I originally enjoyed this in early Oct. '09, still being fairly fresh at that point.

Pours a beautiful looking clear copper, topped with 2 rigid fingers of foamy head (with a slight off look to it). Retains with a sturdy 1/2 finger of froth that hangs tough, slathering the sides of the glass with thick swathes of lacing. Just a nice look here. The aroma is VERY sweet overall and robust in the nose, with tropical citrus and toasted bread, staying pretty even with the more floral, herbal, and spicy character of the hops. I like the flavors involved here a lot but this just lacks a certain intense pop to it, which would really help put this over the top.

The taste starts with aggressive hop character that strikes the tongue with a biting spicy and resinous bitterness. That initial blast of hops is quickly tempered by the sweetness of the tropical fruits and toasty bready malts. A flush of bitterness returns quickly in the backend, with the quite the aggressive dry, pithy, and peppery finish on this, along with some residual stickiness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and I'll be damned if this carbonation isn't as silky and easy as can be, just moving effortlessly. This has a definite warming nature to it (which cuts down the drinkibility just a tad) but that 10% ABV is nicely hidden here, with only a touch showing in the finish and even there, it plays second finish to those lingering flavors.

This was really good but not quite worthy of all the praise that this has been getting. The taste and body were great but the nose was a bit lacking and how it handled it's big ABV fell in line somewhere between the Big Head (decent) and Hopslam (great) in the pantheon of their hefty DIPAs. Still definitely worth a try if you happen to come across it.

Photo of jlindros
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to beerhan for this so I can finally try it. Packaged on 8/12/11 so not super fresh but not bad.

Pours a fluffy 1 finger head that fades fairly slowly with a nice sticky lacing over semi hazy golden nectar orange colored beer.

Nose has plenty of hops, but not super fresh hops. Candy hops, some citrus and a bit earthy, kinda like those jelly orange candies I used to have as a kid. There is a sweet rich malty base, some reddish caramel malts and almost chewy. Although the hops are fairly bright and slightly floral.

Taste comes on big, lots of malts and hops, quite bitter. A really strong spicy and earthy hop just inundates the palate like an IBU count higher than my weight. Tons of bittering hops, some earthy and spicy, and again more candy and some citrus hops. Again with the candy gummy orange flavors, and orange rind astringent bitterness. The sweet malts blanket everything as well, almost syrupy but not quite, with a bit reddish caramel malt flavor, like that reddish candy syrup and almost maple like sweetness. Then booze, some tingly and warming booze really smack me in the tongue and whole mouth area. it finishes super bitter and astringent as well as spicy hop flavors like I just chewed on a hop pellet, and some sweet sticky feel with a bit of booze.

Mouth is pretty big, thick but not really syrupy just wants to pretend to be, with decent carb and a decent booze kick, and ridiculous bitteringness (just made that word up, you wanna fight about it?!).

Overall interesting, but tough to swallow. Nice sort of balance of malts and hops, but just way over the top on both sides, much more like triple IPA with an IBU count that reaches the moon and back, and malts giving a big body and booze that anesthetizes a bit. Very slow drinking, but tasty. I could drink it again, but not very often.

Photo of Slatetank
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks very much to tenderbranson69 for sharing this gem by way of FooFaa- poured chilled from the 12oz into a flared pint

A - A very hazed appearance -like fruit nectar with frothed creamy white foam which clings well in web-like patterns

S - A sweet tangerine + floral hop aroma w/ mild candy-like malt scent. There is a slight grapefruit element in the aroma w/ mellow lemony aspect but only mild nutty and spiced tinges accent the nose

M - The feel is very crisp, dry and bitter w/ citrusy acidity and mildly sweet finish w/ lingering bitter bite and a alcoholic finish

T - The flavor while juicy at first leads to a light pithy and gentle sweet malt flavor w/ bitter grassy hop flavors that combine w/ slightly alcoholic taste. There is mild grapefruit peel notes which give an astringent aspect to the ale and an almost medicinal taste w/ midl grainy tinge in the back

D - The Oracle is very bitter, a hop bomb if you will- the effect is that more than 1 would not be pleasant. The astringent pucker inducing nature makes the palate dry and comes off almost salty after 1/2 a bottle. I think palate fatigue would set in fast for me, but the aroma and taste were very good overall-it just lacks a taste more than 'bitter

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of russpowell
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This one is from imperialking, cheers Jeff!

Pours a semi hazed amber with 2 fingers of rocky sand colored head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Pineyness & grapefruit with some biscuitty malt hanging in the background, plus leafy hops once warm

T: Grapefruit, dryness, pineyness, honey malt hiding behind some boozey breadyness up front. Grapefruit takes a pithy front seat as this warms, along with herbal & piney hops. Finishes with herbal & woody hops, plus a ton of grapefruit & a bit of booze tinge, plus dryness & biscuitty malt

MF: Chewy with low carbonation & fantastic balance

Drinks too damn easy for the ABV & IBUs. Hopheads need to seek this one out, would love to have a fresh hopslam for comparative purposes right now. We get a lot of the flagship Bells across the state line; just a damn shame this didn't make it this far south/west!

Photo of oline73
3.4/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this on-tap at the Eccentric Cafe as a part of my sampler.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber color with a finger of off white head. This beer has amazing head retention with a solid layer of head remaining throughout the pour.

Smell: Really mild, which I would not expect from a 10 percent double IPA. Some malt and mild citrus hops. I expected more.

Taste: Better than the smell. Bitter citrus peel hops throughout. Some malt, but it is overwhelmed by the bitterness. The finish is really bitter.

Mouthfeel: The body is a bit thick with smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: Really bitter. I expected more body given the abv. I probably won't have another given all the other DIPA options.

Photo of MasterSki
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Kyle for tossing me a couple of these bad boys. Served in my Kuhnhenn tulip. Batch 9306.

A - Pours with three fingers of late-rising light orange/blonde foam. Retention is very good, and there is plenty of curtain-like lacing left behind. Slightly hazed, but still mostly transparent golden orange color that has a nice glow to it. Everything looks extra good in this glass, but this has everything I could ask for from a DIPA in look.

S - A huge amount of tropical fruit flavor - pineapple, mango, mandarin orange - as well a touch of pine and zestiness. There's a nice light malt backbone of dough and candy sugar that imparts some sweetness but tastefully stays in the background. As it warms there is some of the peachy and dank Simcoe flavor that crops up. Awesome, but doesn't explode out of the bottle like some other IPAs and DIPAs.

T - Starts sweet with more of the peachy Simcoe flavor, and exudes more caramel malt and grain character than I expected. I wish there was more of the tropical flavors - they show up mid-palate but are quickly wiped out by some fairly intense bitterness. There's some stronger pine elements that persist along with the bitterness well into the aftertaste. Not as palate-wrecking as I thought it would be. I don't like the flavor quite as much as the smell, it's more like a 4.25.

M - The feel is superb. Medium-thick body, with velvet smoothness, low carbonation that only slightly tingles up the upper lip if you take a protracted swig, and a slight warming finish.

D - The bottle went way faster than I thought it would, and the bitterness dissipates relatively quick. I can feel some alcohol heat building, and this isn't so mind-blowing that I'd be willing to subject myself to cold sweats, pounding headaches, and intense vomiting for just another glass (like PtY).

I'm really glad Larry listened and revisited the Big Head recipe. This doesn't taste quite as good but the alcohol is a little better hidden. In any case, I hope he keeps putting out a summer DIPA for all of us hop junkies who find the year wait for Hopslam to be too much.

Photo of mendvicdog
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of drabmuh
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a goblet. beer is orange and hazy, forms a thin white head of tiny bubbles that breaks and moves toward the glass. The diffuse broken head reasonably covers the top, there is lacing on the glass.

Citrusy hops and a hint of malt backbone in the smell. I was expecting more, maybe this is slightly old.

HOLY HOPS BATMAN. This is one of the most heavily hopped beers I've ever had. Glad I'm drinking this last because it just destroyed my palate. Beer is medium in body, surprisingly drinkable, overall a great beer. Hops are present throughout there is a nice malt sweetness in the front of the mouth but its quickly overwhelmed. I love this beer.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Oracle. "A double IPA that is sure to make you as all-knowing as Pythia. It's just a matter of perspective." More rock-solid, down to earth beer information from Bell's.

Lightly hazed golden/orange coloration, beautiful bone white head, bubbly and lacey. Nice looking glass of beer (in a Bell's snifter).

Aroma: soft tropical fruit slyly enters the nose... mellow citrus... turns slightly sharp, just a whiff of alcohol. A little sweetness lingers.

Taste: Enters in force, barging onto the palate, and gets right at home. (When this sits around the mouth, it sits around the mouth.) Hops on top, brilliantly bitter, much more bitterness all over tongue than was displayed in the nose. Spills all over, and gets everything bitter. A mouth wrecking, pucker-up sensation.Bitter, bitter,grapefruit-y attack. And delicious. Lays long in the mouth. Great texture, great finish, not shy, this guy.

Alcohol emerges in the flavor,eventually, while the mouthfeel never diminishes,the Oracle remains untamed.I could drink a few of these...but not more than a few.

Photo of MarkyMOD
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of DrunkinYogi
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of mdfb79
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip.

a - Pours an orange-amber color with two inches of off white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of oranges, citrus hops, fruity malts, honey, and hints of piney hops.

t - Taste has a huge bitter kick to it. Tastes of grapefruit, citrus hops, orange, piney hops, fruity malts, and alcohol. A little bit too bitter for me.

m - Light to medium body and low carbonation. Smooth and if not for the big bitter kick, would be very easy to drink.

d - I thought this DIPA smelled really good, but the taste was too bitter and the alcohol was too prominent in the taste. Would give another shot, but not as good as Bell's other IPA/DIPA's like 2 Hearted Ale or HopSlam.

Photo of drewone
3.9/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of Mora2000
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to RBlaszak for sending this beer to me.

The beer pours a clear yellow-orange color with a white head. The aroma is very fruit and is outstanding. I get a lot of orange, pineapple and papaya, as well as some pine notes.

The flavor is just as great. It is dominated by pineapple, pine and papaya. I also get a little bit of caramel malt. The bitterness is about medium and not too intense. The beer is full of hop flavor, but the bitterness is restrained enough that the beer is still very drinkable.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A great Double IPA that I am very happy I got to try.

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +19.6%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of kojevergas
3.25/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

BOTTLE: 12 fl oz. Brown glass. Appealing classy label art. Branded pry-off pressure cap.

Brewed 08/08/14 - well within Bell's 6 month timeframe. Expectations are high; this is currently #20 on the Top 50 Michigan list. 10% ABV. Served cold into a Jester King goblet. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated. Reviewed live as a DIPA per the label.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: One finger wide. White colour. Nice creaminess. Good frothiness. Nice thickness. Has an appealing smooth, even consistency and a soft complexion. Leaves light consistent lacing on the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Retention: average - about 2 minutes.

BODY: Murky orange-copper of average vibrance. Translucent and glowing. Nontransparent. Clean; no yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Overall, it's a nice looking imperial IPA but isn't unique or special.

AROMA: Fruity. Peach, apricot, ripened fruit, pale malts, floral hop character, more tropical pineapple hop character (a note I've never liked in beer), citrusy zest, and some tropical mango. Hints of grapefruit are present, but I don't get grapefruit's signature dominance or punch. Tangerine. A kiss of pine. Grassiness. Caramalts. Mild resinous character.

Overall, it's a fresh ripe fruity aroma with plenty of interesting hop character, but it could be juicier, and the tropical leanings have me worried...I usually prefer a more citrusy, piney, resinous hop character. Nevertheless, it's pleasant and inviting. Above average in strength, with no overt booziness. Critically, the hop bitterness seems well tamed by the pale malts. I hope the taste is as balanced as the aroma.

No yeast character or off-notes are detectable.

TASTE: Loads of hop character: floral hops, some pine, tangerine citrus and accompanying zest, mango, peach, boozy orange, and hints of grapefruit. To balance the bitterness from all those hops, it employs a bit too much caramalt, which makes it overly sweet and lends it a boozy undercurrent. The pale malt foundation gets lost in the mix. I do pick up on the dreaded pineapple hop note, unfortunately. I'd like a juicier more resinous and more citrusy hop emphasis, but this isn't bad.

While I do find it fundamentally imbalanced, I think it's decently built. Nice depth of flavour. Average flavour duration and intensity for the style. It boasts plenty of complexity, but it's not enough to truly compete the big dogs in the style. And there isn't much nuance or subtlety here; it commits to a lot of big flavours without regard for fine-tuning or intricacy.

MOUTHFEEL: Smooth, wet, creamy, soft enough, and fairly refreshing. But the booziness holds it back, and it does have a thick heavy feel on the palate, with a somewhat overbearing presence. Full-bodied. Coating.

Overall, the warmth of the mouthfeel coupled with the tropical fruit from the taste lends this brew a booze-soaked fruit vibe which isn't all that pleasant. This texture is a decent companion to the taste, but fails to elevate the beer.

Overcarbonated.

Not oily, gushed, hot, astringent, harsh, or rough.

OVERALL: It's too boozy to be all that drinkable, but I'll enjoy working my way through it. With a myriad of superior beers in the style available on shelves, I wouldn't pick up The Oracle again, but I'm glad I tried it once. Bell's own Hopslam is a much better (and even more balanced) brew, and this veers too far into tropical hop territory for my personal tastes. The boozy pineapple really turns me off to this, and the overdone caramalt sweetness is equally problematic.

Huge thanks to Duff27 for the bottle!

High C+

Photo of InspectorBob
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
93 out of 100 based on 2,184 ratings.