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The Oracle - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
The OracleThe Oracle

Educational use only; do not reuse.

723 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 723
Hads: 2,476
Avg: 4.18
pDev: 19.62%
Wants: 456
Gots: 356 | FT: 8
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: 723 | Hads: 2,476
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~

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Photo of drxandy
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I got a bottle of the first bottling and thought i reviewed it, apparently not - this batch around, here we go

12oz to tulip glass, pours a peachy shade, creamy head retains excellently

smells of hops and more hops, biscuity malt

taste is nice and dry, sweetness in the middle, bitter lingering delicious hops. good finish

mouthfeel is bitter and creamy

overall a very nice dipa, very drinkable, good weight for alc content and excellent balance.

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Photo of RustyDiamond
4.4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 9306 packaged on August 28.

Hazy orange pour with a solid finger of near white head. Frothy with some nice bubbles. Clean with some very fine hop molecules.

Aroma of hot pine sappy grapefruit rind. Some sweet fruit too...peaches maybe cantaloupe.

Hits you in the back of the throat immediately upon impact. Hop vapor explosion. Floral hoppy to bitchin' hot in a second. Chewy piney grapefruit. Phenol felt in the mouthfeel surrounded by hop power. Faint taste of sourdough pretzels. Very tart and chewy in the middle...grapefruit rind x 10.

Wicked lacing up and down the glass. Very intense and very good.

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Photo of cwguy5
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Brawley's for this one!

A - deep golden, orange color with one finger, bubbly head; faded to nice a covering cap with enormous amounts of lacing
S - aromatic hops, then malt and bread, then pine
T - bitter in front followed by brief pineapple then huge piney, bitterness at end
M - velvety smooth; medium carbonation with fine, foamy bubbles
D - drinkability for me is low here; not sure if this is from the bitterness or the lack of much fruit or anything beyond pine oil; just not my favorite palate for a big ipa

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Photo of mdvatab
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into imperial pint glass.
Bottle dated 8/12/2011. (Gotta love a 9-day old DIPA!)

Aroma: Green pine needles and herbal hops, sweet tea, red delicious apple, and nice peach aroma sets in after a while.

Appearance: Golden-copper, crystal clear body. Thick, two-finger, persistent off-white head. Nice, foamy lacing sticks to inside of glass.

Flavor: Deceptive honey-like sweetness and medicinal hop up front. Pine resin quickly follows. Strong bitterness then ramps up as sweetness subsides. Bitterness then ramps up, and increases well through the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation and medium body. Alcohol is warming in the throat after swallowing.

Overall: Lots of great things going on here. From the fantastic aroma, to the appearance, to the roller coaster ride of flavors. I will say-- the bitterness that shows up after I swallowed each sip was almost enough to make me cry uncle! If you have a taste for some powerful bitterness, and can get a hold of this one, I highly recommend it!

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Photo of Mavajo
4.92/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to Buckeyenation for throwing this in as an extra - generous guy.

Pours an amber orange color with a huge, frothy white head. Beautiful sticky lacing - although the lacing continued throughout the experience, the upper part of my glass was especially plastered. Wonderful. My only knock on the appearance would be the haze in the body - a little more clarity would have knocked this up to a perfect score.

Nose is a generous hop punch; citrus and fruity, with notes of pine/grass. The taste follows suit with liberal amounts of hops and bitterness. Where HopSlam is hoppy but very sweet, The Oracle switches it around - the hops and bitterness are jacked up, while the sweetness takes more of a backseat. Either way, both beers make for an absolutely excellent taste. Hot damn does Bell's know how to make a tasty brew. The alcohol is completely hidden.

The mouthfeel is very good. Appropriate carbonation, and fairly smooth - medium bodied. I would have liked it if the body were a bit fuller or creamier, but I'm undoubtedly picking nits at this point.

Another phenomenal DIPA from Bell's. I must confess, this beer wasn't even on my radar - huge thanks to Buckeyenation for solving that problem! Very glad I had the opportunity to try this. I'm amazed at how well this had held up with age - I can only imagine what it must have been liked fresh.

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Photo of whoneeds8
4.26/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to biglobo8971 who sent this for the winnings from the Sunday Night Football Squares LIF week 4. I'm enjoying this watching Game 5 of the ALDS cheering for the Rangers!!!!

Poured into a tulip glass a golden orange with a two finger foam white head. Great lacing and retention. My allergies are a PIA this time of year, and all I can find in the scent is some alcohol. But that's my noises fault. The taste has some piny hop notes with a slight citric sweetness that morphs into a carmel flavor and hoppy bitter aftertaste. Very complex. The mouthfeel isn't too thick or too thin, just right for the style. And the alcohol is well masked making this a very drinkable IIPA.

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Photo of fiver29
4.57/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Josh with a group of other beer lovers. Thanks Josh! Pours orange with off white head. Aroma is citrus grapefruit simcoe hops. I said I thought the aroma reminded me of hopslam without the honey. Opulent mouthfeel. Flavor follows the nose and has a great citrus hop blast from grapefruit or orange and finishes semi dry with slight alcohol. Someone else suggested it was like their big head. Either way a great IIPA and was a pleasure to try. Thanks!

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Photo of blackcompg
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Purchased a very fresh case of Oracle from Bell's Brewery on 8/14/11, reviewing on 8/15/11, poured from a 12oz bottle into a 12oz beer glass...been waiting for this all year long!

Appearance - Pours a quick finger of off white-eggshell head, color is a glowing lite copper orange, slightest bit of haze, nearly clear. Keeps a solid cap for the session. Smooth laced stripes coat the glass from top to bottom at the end of the session.

Smell - Big citrusy hops, grapefruit juice and pineapple, touch of pine in the back, little bit of hard candy sweetness, no alcohol in the nose.

Taste - OMG!!! This could not be a fresher Oracle, and the taste is Incredible, SO GOOD! Semi-sweet yellow grapefruit, under-ripe pineapple, tangering peel and ruby red grapefruit...all of this rides along a slightly sweet malty backbone...all the while there are floral hops. After ths sip a nice bitterness of grapefruit rind and pine assert themselves long into the finish, but there are still pockets of citrus and candied semi-sweetness throughout the mouth...this is not like a salvo of punches at all, this is a perfectly orchestrated symphony! There is no evidence of the 10% ABV, never have I seen (not seen?) an ABV like this hidden so well...there is a slight warmth that develops a little over halfway thru the session.

Mouthfeel - Medium mouthfeel, so smooth, carb is light and tingly, with all of the different hoppy citrus notes there is some juicyness here, yet there is some bitter dryness in the finish - just enough to beg the next sip - perfection.

Overall - I LOVE this beer, my only complaint is that this is a seasonal release. Find it, trade for it, go to Bell's in Kalamazoo and get some if you must - this to me is the best tasting DIPA I've had so far. Two thumbs up, way up!

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Photo of krisandajt
4.82/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A very tasty treat courtesy of mymrnngjckt. You, sir, are the man.

Appearance: An easy pour yields a thick, clear copper colored beverage with a small amount of thin bubbly head. Though there isn't much head, what is there hangs out for a while and there is plenty of thick, sticky, soapy lacing.

Smell: Delicious hops. A nice, moderate hit of citrusy, bitter grapefruity hops. Not overpowering or offensive, but certainly not lacking either.

Taste: Wow. An initial hit of sweet that is immediately followed by the delicious bitter hops that were hinted at in the nose. It's amazing how clearly defined these two contrasting flavors are, and how well they compliment each other.

Mouthfeel: A full-bodied, smooth textured, viscous bit of grog. It almost feels like you need to chew this bad boy.

Drinkability: Hands down one of the best IPA's I have ever had. Definitely one of the brews worthy of the hype it has received. It's a fantastic blend of sweet and bitter, has a great mouthfeel, and it just down right good. Please sir...can I have some more?

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Photo of brewdoc75
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Looks pretty damn good in my Sam Adams pint glass. Beautiful deep orange with some slight touches of amber. Moderate carbonation feeds a lasting, just off-white head that seems to last quite a while. There is a ton of lace that follows down the sides of the glass.

S: Lots of nice aromas here. Strong fruitiness w/ pineapple jumping out at me. This is followed by a strong orange/tangerine aroma. Hints of pine round out the hop aromas. The malts are definitely here to play too with some rich caramel notes present. I do get a slight hit of booze in the end, but it isn't off-putting.

T: At first I get a ton of that fruity hop character that was noted in the nose. Plenty of pineapple, orange and tangerine in the flavor, but not quite as much as the aroma made it out to be. This is quickly followed by a strong, caramel flavor. Not toffee, but caramel. A significant sweetness from the malts is there, but it isn't too cloying. This is promptly followed by a strong piney, grapefruit rind bitterness. The beer does finish with some alcohol in the end. It isn't terrible, but definitely there. Overall very flavorful and hop forward with a significant caramel malt backbone. Definitely maltier than Hopslam. The booze comes out a little more too.

M: Medium to heavy bodied. A little heavier than some DIPAs. Feels smooth over the tongue. Carbonation is moderate at best. Maybe a little to sticky in the back of the throat at the end. The alcohol helps it dry out a little though.

D: This is a damn fine DIPA. The aroma is very nice, but for me the flavor didn't match up with it. The flavors were all nice (minus a little too much booze), but they were a little muted. I liked the balancing malts. They seemed to make the beer taste better in this cooler fall weather. I would definitely drink this again, but not over Hopslam or some other great DIPAs that are out.

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

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

S- Mild floral aroma reminiscent of hopslam.

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

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

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

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

A: Dark golden orange with a two finger off white head.

S: spicy, citrus hops. Grapefruit, pineapple maybe? Smells like Hopslam

T: wow, tastes like Hopslam minus the honey on the backend which makes the bitterness all the more powerful (and that's ok with me)

M: good carbonation with lots of bubbles. blends well with the bite

D: well, I drank 3 of these in one sitting so I'd say pretty drinkable. Although, it really puts your tongue through a workout. Would love to know the abv

Very delicious DIPA overall. I think I like Hopslam a little more but this is still a fantastic DIPA. Another amazing beer from Bell's. Very much recommend every hop lover try if you can get your hands on it.

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Photo of glazeman
3.73/5  rDev -10.8%
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.

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Photo of thetomG
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Above average appearance (but a little more clear than I prefer) - orangeish color, very nice ring of dense foam left around the glass after the initial head diminishes leaving behind a ton of sticky lacing. . Nice piney hop-filled aroma with a slight hint of citrusy fruit. Flavor is a good blend of bitter hop and malty flavors that try (but fail) to balance things out - the bitterness clearly wins out here, which takes away from the drinkability.

Good beer, but given the limited availability and my preference for other more readily available DIPAs, I'm not too likely to seek this one out all too often.

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Photo of heebes
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours into a tulip a clear copper with two fingers of bubbly off white foam head. A thin layer of spotty lacing echos the beers decent. Nose is outstanding, a plethora of citrus, grapefruit, juicy pear, flowering hops with only a hint of malt underneath. Taste is excellent, bitter hop juices, pine resin, sweet fresh fruit with a mellow malt profile appearing in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium heavy, dry at the end but clean.
Overall, an absolutely incredible DIPA from Bell's, how they can brew two of the best beers in the style is remarkable. This beer doesn't need to rest on any hop-pun name, its quiet and quaint appearance is backed by its incredible taste. Only down-side: its even more rare and limited than Bells spring DIPA release, and because of this was limited to one bottle per customer where I picked it up, at 3.50. I consider myself lucky to get to try this beer, if you get the chance, it should be an easy decision.

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Photo of roger617
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into snifter.

A: 4.0 Bright golden copper with 1 finger of white foamy head that reduces very slowly and leaves tons of lacing.
S: 4.0 Pine and malt forward with lingering floral notes.
T: 4.25 Slightly boozy, similar to smell I get pine first. This leaves a lingering citrus aftertaste, and a warmth that should come with a DIPA.
M: 3.75 Carbed well, smooth and silky. A little more carbed than I'm used to in this style, but it doesn't take anything away.
O: 4.0 This is a great brew, definitely what I expect out of a DIPA. Malty, boozy, pine and citrusy. I was able to snag 2 at a local rare beer release, I'd be happy to get a couple more!

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Photo of output01x
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. capped bottle (Packaged On 08/12/11) into a snifter glass.

A strong pour yields a 1 1/2-finger cream-colored head that recedes after a few minutes to a thin, goopy coating and thick foam ring. The body is a clear orange amber with a good amount of small-rising carbonation bubbles. Great lacing clings to the sides of the glass throughout consumption.

Hops aromas explode out of the waning head. Grapefruit, mango, and orange peel aromas give the nose a very tropical character. Resinous pine and grassy hops aromas are also present.

The first sip delivers resinous pine and a sharp, oily citrus flavor with notes of orange peel and mango. As soon as the beer is swallowed, pine quickly moves in with a great bitterness. The bitterness never becomes drying and only lasts until a somewhat excessive alcohol burn develops in the back of the throat.

Medium bodied with good carbonation makes this a decently drinkable DIPA. The body is a little thick and slightly syrupy but is not sticky. The carbonation is not fizzy at all and can barely be detected.

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

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

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Photo of HosP
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Took some time off from drinking... great welcome back; The Oracle. Hopefully saw something good in my future!

A - Poured very nice amber color. Nice one finger off white head with nice lacing on the glass. Slight haze to it. Very good looking beer.

S - Very hopped up smell. Nice citrus notes, with pineapple standing out the most. Some pine hints mixed with caramel at the end.

T - Great flavors that contrast but balance each other out very well. Lots of hops upfront. Big bitterness with the pine and citrus flavors. Quickly turns sweet though with caramel malts. Bitterness lingers a bit, but malts help mellow out at the end.

M - Lighter body. Moderate carbonation. With the bitterness upfront still goes down smooth. Get some alcohol taste as it goes down the more it warms.

D - Couldn't wait to try this big DIPA. Didn't let me down. Wasn't really my favorite DIPA out there, as I can think of 3 or 4 that are better. However the contrast of flavors is done very well. Gives you an interesting and satisfying drink!

 1,028 characters

Photo of CaptCleveland
4/5  rDev -4.3%

12oz bottle, dated 08/08/2014, poured into SA glass.

Hazy, golden-honey elixir, one-finger white head dissipates to thin rim. Scant lacing.

Heavy pine, citrus, subtle spice and earth tones.

Citrus, mangoes, spice, pine. Alcohol after taste brings this one down a bit.

Medium body, alcohol presence.

Good not great DIPA.

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Photo of endincolorado
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This beer's color is a clear, deep, orange-amber that lies beneath a big, frothy off-white head and leaves lasting sheets of white lace down the sides of the glass. The aroma is an almost-intoxicating blend of grapefruit, pine, and freshly cut grass. There's also some noticeable alcohol. Flavor is hoppy, resiny, with some finishing sweetness to balance the bitterness. Mouthfeel is very satisfying; medium-heavy with appropriate carbonation. Overall, I'm thankful this is a 12-oz bottle and can't imagine going through a 6 pack alone. A great example of the style, but the style is powerful and best in small doses.

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Photo of Tripel_Threat
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle to pint glass. Nice, thick and rich soapy head appears and stays, leaving tick amounts of lacing behind. The aroma is of a freshly opened can of mandarin oranges in heavy syrup poured over freshly cut grass. More sweet than floral. Taste is smooth and the ABV is well hidden, although there is some warmth. A bite of pine resin, with a honey smoothness in taste and feel. One to have again and again.

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

Received this as an extra from triptens in a recent trade. Really excited about this one!

Appearance- Pours a shimmering golden-amber out of the 12oz bottle into my Great Divide pint glass. Mildly aggressive pour yields about a finger and a half of thick head. Great retention and about a quarter finger sticks around for most of the drink. Huge amounts of lacing trace the side of the glass while I drink as well.

Smell- Man, I can smell this one as it pours out of the bottle. Very fragrant with huge hoppy notes of citrusy orange-sherbet, lemon, orange, grapefruit, and even a little bit of tropical pineapple. Just a touch of resin as well, but for the most part smells like a great blend of tropical fruits.

Taste- Lots and lots of citrus yet again. More notes of grapefruit and orange come though primarily for me. A touch of floral hops and pine as well with a great bite to it at the end. Very very fruity in a good way and one of the superior and more interesting IIPAs that I've had the pleasure of drinking.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Very thick in the mouth with nice levels of carbonation. Eminently drinkable despite the strength and wish I had more than one of these.

Overall, excellent. To those who find West Coast IIPA and IPAs generally superior, I say give this a shot. I've got a Pliny the Elder I'm having next, so we'll see how they compare. If you're lucky enough to have the opportunity though, definitely give this one a try.

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

Big thanks to exitmusic00 for bringing this beer over for "mini-tasting" while we were packing a box for our tasting partner bif. Poured into my Fantome tulip. Bottled 8/12.

A- Pours a light hazy orange with a one finger head that dissipates slowly. A few lines of lacing are left behind.

S- Pine and grass upfront followed by pineapple, mango and apricot. Grapefruit and orange zest are also present.

T- A huge amount of pine that assaults the taste buds. Sweet bready malt, floral hops, pineapple, mango, apricot, grapefruit, and orange zest follow after. The tropical notes are less noticeable in the taste.

M- Medium carbonation and body with a slightly creamy mouthfeel. Finishes very dry and fairly boozy.

O- I was a little disappointed with this beer. It's a hop bomb for sure, but it is pretty boozy (dare I say, more boozy than hopslam with the lack of honey) The pine and grass hops were dominant. Worth trying, but not something that I would passionately seek out.

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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
93 out of 100 based on 723 ratings.