The Oracle | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding
726 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
726
Ratings:
2,501
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
10.77%
 
 
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The OracleThe Oracle
BEER INFO

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

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-04-2009

User Reviews
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Reviews: 726 | Ratings: 2,501
Photo of HopHead84
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks a ton to Masterski for sending this to me. I owe you one. Batch 9306 consumed on 9/17/2009 and poured into a snifter. The beer is slightly hazy and vibrant golden in my glass. The white head rises an inch above the nectar and recedes very slowly, eventually devolving into a small lingering bubbly froth. Some lacing clings to the sides of my glass.

My nose is greeted by notes of tangerine, peach, orange, lemon, pineapple, passion fruit, and some grapefruit. The citrus is lively and some floral character is evident, as well as lesser notes of pine resin. There's a honey-like sweetness that fits very well with the hop notes. This is a sweeter than a San Diego Pale Ale, but man is it good. The malt profile is caramel and a nice foundation is laid for the hops. Alcohol is noticeable. The aroma is outstanding.

The flavor is immediately bitter at a high level with more pine resin than there was in the nose. The cornucopia of fruit is back in the flavor with prominent peach and orange pith. The sweetness is honey-like and complements the hops and caramel malt nicely. Bitterness remains at a fairly high level throughout and the alcohol seems strong. The flavor is good, but it didn't quite live up to the aroma. I found the alcohol to be a bit distracting and overshadowing. The finish is bitter citrus alcohol.

The beer is light medium bodied with a medium level of carbonation and a sticky mouthfeel. A light body Double IPA with a killer fruit aroma and an aggressive flavor that's on the sweeter side.

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

On tap at lake bryant bowl. Very glad to be able to find this on draft.

The beer pours the expected orange amber color with very good head retention and considerable lacing. On the nose....Yowszaa!!!! This beer smells great, with considerable orange citrus and a boatloald of pine. I get some light dank earth and some white pepper as well, but the pine and citrus really dominate in this. The flavor profile is every bit as impressive, and I found myself marveling at the talent of the brewer to make a beer like this. There is a sturdy malt component to this DIPA, which adds to the attractive sweet cirtus flavor. However, the beer is clearly dominated by the hop profile, leadiing to a dry, pine infused, intensely bitter finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied to full, with a long, pine infused, very bitter finish. Alcohol is noticeable, but still very well integrated into the flavor profile. This beer is not at all heavy or tiring, though I'm not sure I could handle more than one or two glasses of this impressive beer at a sitting (I ended up ordering two).

Excellent DIPA.... just what this hophead was in the mood for. Very well done.

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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?

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Photo of corby112
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks a lot to Tyson and iceicebaby for hooking me up with bottles of this limited brew.

Pours a slightly cloudy golden orange with some light golden ripe banana hues when held to a light source and a one finger frothy off-white head that slowly settles after a bit into a lasting ring that leaves nice sporadic rings of lacing.

Very floral hop aroma with a nice amount of citrus peel as well as some dank, piny resinous hop oil. The malt backbone also contributes to the sweetness. The citrus peel and grapefruit are very prominent, blending well with the earthy hops.

Chewy resinous mouthfeel that is very dry and hop forward. Lots of sweet citrus notes provide an excellent balance to the dry piny bitter hops. Lots of lemon peel and grapefruit sweetness along with the subtle malt backbone provide a nice balance to the massive dry hop explosion that lingers over everything into a long bone dry finish with some slight alcohol heat. The ABV is very well masked, making this dangerously drinkable.

This is one of the most dry, hoppy beers I've ever had. I'm glad I got to try this fresh when the hops still dominate. Everyone who considers themselves a hophead should seek this out immediately.

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

Poured an orange color with a small white head, good carbonation. Nose smells of big citrus; apricot, peaches and greapefruit, hops are pretty subdued as to a West Coast IIPA. Mouthfeel is tart, hops, bittering and citrus, even couaght a few floral notes.Good IIPA and very drinkable. Not as hot as I expected either.

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Photo of akorsak
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Deuane for sparing a bottle.

A: The DIPA is well-carbonated. I filled my glass to the 2/3 mark and watched the head slowly well up and cascade down the sides, making a mess. With a washcloth in place under the ale, the head still sits majestically in the glass. Slow to recede, the craggy foam leaves thick patches of lace. Underneath the morass, the ale is a pale amber color, an orange-yellow combo that could pass for the color of some of the trees outside. Translucent, the ale looks big.

S: The nose is pretty darn big, full of sweet orange and grapefruit, peach and mango. A nose that could easily be that of Sculpin. Very inviting. I want to ignore the hype but this nose makes it difficult.

T: A tropical fruit flavor, very close to pineapple juice, greets me on first sip. The drawback is that a blast of booze comes with it. The hops are a sweet, sugary wonderland, I can't deny that. Underneath the peach flavors, a caramel malt flavor stands out amongst the big hops. If not for the alcohol heat, I'd rave on this one. In smaller sips, the heat is minimized, so that may be the trick to really enjoying this one. I do like the sweet citrus fruits that linger in my mouth.

M: A decadent ale, the sweetness is mighty impressive. It more than makes up for the abundant boozy heat. A little restraint often goes a long way (don't get me wrong, it is good).

D: It's good but far too big to be enjoyed in excess. I do like it more than HopSlam (even if the rating doesn't reflect it).

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

From 12oz bottle to Jackie O's stemmed tulip on 8/29/11
*From notes

-- Bottle purchased at The Anderson's General Store in Columbus, OH on 8/26/11 --

A: Brilliant dark amber. A forceful pour yields a 3.25 finger head and big league lacing.

S: Juicy. Really juicy. It reminds me a bit of Bell's Hopslam, sans the honey influence. It's fairly one-note, but might I say, it's a damn fine note.

T: Bitter up front, and as it opens up, so does the immense amount of tropical fruit juice. Just dripping with the stuff. The finish is pretty intense, with an odd twang of black coffee.

M: You know how Bell's does. This is a classy beer - the carbonation, weight and texture are all top shelf.

O: Bell's Oracle is a damn fine DIPA. Is it as good as Hopslam? No, but it certainly holds it's own. A beer I hope to return to, and recommend without hesitation.

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Photo of Axnjxn
3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a teku glass. 8/8/13 bottling date

Pours a darker orange with a 2 finger white head with superb lacing. The smell is very subdued on the hops but what i do detect i really like. The taste is very bitter up front. Very bitter. Good amount of malts too though. Grapefruit dominates the palate. The bitterness definitely lingers too. Medium bodied with mild carbonation. 10%ABV undetectable.

Overall not world class by any stretch of the imagination but very drinkable for 10%. Not very complex. Doesnt touch hopslam or even 2 hearted, so dont go out of your way for this one. Still, recommended.

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Photo of rudzud
3.97/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received as an extra in a trade, poured into my Duvel tulip. Fresh bottle

A - Pours a hazy golden orange hue with a nice one finger creamy white head that fades slowly to leave sticky lacing and a thin blanket.

S - Aromas of sweeter caramel malts, little bit of citrus rind and a little bit of pine resin.

T - Taste is similar to the nose. Lots of bitter pine, loads of malts here along with some sweetness. The citrus is subdued as this is mostly a pine sap bomb. Fair amount of alcohol on the pallet too. Very reminiscent of DFH 120.

M - Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, a bit sticky and hot from the ABV, but it still isn't that bad.

O - Overall, this certainly is how big DIPAs were 5+ years ago. Malty and straight up bitter. That being said with advancements in hops this flavour profile is really starting to be left behind in the dust of big fruity DIPAs. Still though, for what it is this isn't a bad beer.

Serving Type: Bottle

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

12oz bottle with an imprint on the label of 9306.

Poured into my new Bell's Brewing glass, compliments of TATTORSO, I see an attractive hazy orange ale with about a finger head of foam. Nice lacing is part of this package deal.

Taking a few whiffs, the hoppiliciousness is something to be admired. Lots of tropical fruit goodness with mangos and pineapples being dominant...like standing in the fresh produce dept at my local grocers. I *could* just sit here and keep on smelling the damn beer but on to bigger and better things like...drinking it!

First sip and whoah, baby. This puppy tastes just like the smell with the grapefruit and mango but a nice tasty taste of oranges joins the party and I'm loving it. Being supremely satisfied with what the hops are doing, I'm now searching for the malt.

There *are* some nice sweetish notes buried way back in the background here that could be coming from the fruity hoppiness but I'm not going to dwell over it. The hops rule this DIPA and that's all I have to say about that!

This is close to full bodied with lightish carbonation and is near perfection for the mouthfeel.

Drinkability? It's a no slouch DIPA weighing in at 10.4%abv but I cannot honestly say the alcohol is all that noticeable in the taste or during the swallow...just some warming after the swallow and a general feeling of all is right in the world. ;^)

This was a tough beer to find but the effort was worth it! Thanks, Bell's!!

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Photo of Haybeerman
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Bright, burnt orange/copper color. Pours a 1 finger off-white head that dissipates to a thin skim. Laces in thin rings.

S: Big citrussy and floral hop bomb up front. As the beer warmed a bit and decanted, roasted malt and a little sugar well in the background.

T: Lots of citrus hops; orange rind, grapefruit. Resiny hops coat through the middle. Some unfermented sugar and a little toasted malt character. Huge bitter builds in the finish. This beer is a hop monster.

M: Medium body. Moderate carbonation. Resiny and very bitter.

D: ABV is a bit daunting, but disguised well. A little rough to have more than one, but totally enjoyed it.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy copper tinted orange with frothy head and lace ring down glass. The aroma is intense, bursting with dry and citric hop aromas and very little else. Soapy, spicy, citric hops in a medium body that somehow is creamy at times yet coats the tongue with tastebud nuking hoppy goodness. A pleasant sipper that is must for a hophead (and a must avoid for any non-IPA drinkers).

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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.

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Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%

spicy floral hop aromas, very hoppy with both spicy and bitter hop elements – obviously hopped in multiple stages. Like many American IPAs and what you would expect from a double IPA, the hops really dominate but the malt and the alcohol provide a nice balance. Bells demonstrates how to do a super hoppy beer – it has intense bitterness and almost comes off as an elixir with the alcohol almost adding to the bitterness – this is probably not a session beer but would make a nice aperitif beer for before or after dinner.

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

Enjoyed at Slow's in Detroit. Orange with a thick cap of light beige foam. Lots of fine bubbles coated the sides of the glass, with rings indicating each sip. Great aroma, tons of citrusy and resinous hops, grapefruit and oranges, pineapple and tropical fruit character. Great flavour too, sugary malts balance out the big, citrusy hop profile (basically the same as in the aroma) and kept the sturdy bitterness in check. A bit of alcohol warmth rounded things out. Full bodied with lowish carbonation, very smooth texture. Overall, an excellent beer and one of my favourite big IPAs in recent memory.

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Photo of dar482
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

The aroma has juicy citrus and grapefruit, floral, resinous pine, and some caramel malt.

The flavor follows with a pop of big sweetness on the front. Lots of malt on this beer with a bit of grapefruit peel and lots of leafy green pine on the back.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, Batch 9901 (Bottled on 8/23/2010). Served in a snifter, the beer pours an amber/orange color with an inch off-white head. Head retention and lacing are both good. Aroma is mostly citrusy (orange/grapefruit/tropical fruit) and pine hops, along with a little bit of bready malt. Taste is pretty much the same as the aroma, the citrusy hops flavors are the strongest, but the pine hops and bready malt flavors are noticable too. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's creamy, oily and slick with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is very good, it's quite smooth and goes down easy. I think this is a good overall brew, I'd definitely buy this again.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. Batch #9306.

(A)- Pours an orange amber color that produced an off-white to light yellow colored foamy head that has some good retention to it. Some evident patches of lacing here and there.

(S)- Nice citrus of grapefruit and lime with peaches and apricots too. A little woody pine funk that is slightly mineral-like.

(T)- An interesting variation with the peach/apricot fruits combined with grapefruit and lime citrus; it gives it a sweet yet sour character. Good hop bitterness with the slightest of malt background coming through like honey, but more like a butterscotch thing.

(M)- Definitely an interesting play in fruit complexities that provides an interesting balance with the obvious hop bite. Minimal malt influence, but great fruits within. Great carbonation level.

(D)- An interesting DIPA that has a unique fruit profile. Has good balance and is well made. Another winner from Bells brewery. Seek this one out if you can, even in MI it was kinda hard to find.
On a side note, alot of people are comparing this to Hopslam. . . . . this is a totally different beer that is excellent, but I think that Hopslam is better in my opinion. If you try this expecting a beer like or better than Hopslam, you might be dissapointed; Try this with an open mind without assuming anything like I did and you will enjoy it more.

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Photo of barczar
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy copper brown with a half inch khaki head that slowly dissipates, leaving sheets of lacing.

Caramel, toffee, booze, dates, figs, and plums form the initial aroma. Citrus, resin, and pine add hop character.

Grapefruit pith, grapefruit. tangerine, pine, resin, fresh cut grass, booze, and sweet caramel malt form the flavor profile. The finish is decidedly bitter.

Body is moderate to heavy, with moderate carbonation and significant alcohol warmth.

Decidedly malt dominant and boozy, there's enough bitterness, resin, and muted citrus to balance in the extreme.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not sure how "summer" the release is I just found a bottled on 8/09 at my local six pack shop for a $3.25 single. Long time tick for me since last year!

A - Well it settled a bit making for great lacing but I did get a 1+ inch foamy head atop of a rather bright clear orange brown colored beer.
S - Smell is interesting very resinous but showing citrus in nature. Like a weird but effective blend.
T - Ow wow this is seriously the most bitter beer I had all year. Deep dank resinous hop bite that shakes the tongue and burns the buds. Truthfully the first sip I choked a bit because of the surprise huge hop bite and massive ABV. Second a bit smoother but I don't think my palate would completely adjust. Such a bitter unforgivable beer.
M - Thankfully the body keeps this massive ABV at bay making for a more medium bodied drinking experience.

Overall the hype really made this beer seem as good as hopslam but all I got was a tongue peeling hop experience that cries for a better malt base. If anything I applaud the well hidden ABV so there is that...

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

12 oz bottle, HUGE thanks to the ever generous hoppymeal for the hookup. He is a star.

Pours a hazy orange, some amber highlights, big and thick off white head forms, slowly settles to a huge layer and ring, tons of lace sticks to the glass. Looks pretty nice.

Smell is wicked hoppy, huge pineapple and grapefruit notes, lemon rind, caramel, pine, tons of fruit and citrus, biscuit, massive hops in this one, pretty intense.

Taste is similar, big pineapple and tropical fruit, caramel sweetness, good malty middle, citrus and orange, pine, huge grapefruit hoppiness, biscuit, a bit buttery, really intense and herbal bitterness, but still balanced.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation. Hugely hoppy but still balanced, alcohol is non existant, this is much too drinkable for a 10%+ ABV brew. Great stuff, thanks again Derek!

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Photo of Bighuge
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slightly hazed copper body. Thin beige head. Good amounts of lace throughout. This one smells deeply juicy and resinous....and fruity. Great aroma. Flavor follows suit nicely with more alcohol evident. It's got some of that spiked punch feel to it with the booziness and tropical fruit tones from the hops. Pineapple and mango come to mind. Resinous hop tones and leafy cannabis. But the overriding characteristic here is the booze. Just too much booze flavor to make this an exceptional beer. Good though.

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

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A- Orange, with a touch of reddness. Tan head that lingers forever.

S- Citrus overload, very strong, but I love it.

T- Very mellow sweet citrus flavors.

D- Creamy and mellow.

O- With a bottle code of 9901, this was bottled on 8-23-2010. I am afraid it is past it's prime and has lost some of the hop bitterness, but it is still a nice drinking beer. I can't wait to try it fresh.

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

A deep orange color, like a sunset in your glass, ploughy head, chunky. Aroma was very sweet, tropical citrus and some alcohol warmth.

The first few sips come off wo much alcohol, possibly the most pineapple I've ever tasted in a beer, this one is far less piney and way more tropical citrus, mango, papaya and pineapple feel to it. One of these would be way cooler in a Corona on the beach commercial. Good amount of hops to it, but not a super crisp blast, enough to pair well with a 10.4 beer, thats for sure. Reminiscient of Odell's India Barleywine.

Should be interested to visit the rest of the 6 pack throughout the year. The three I've had thus far were all enjoyable, but the one I had on a weeknight was a little much to get down. This is a good beer to throw down at the end of a tasting session on a weekend, too dangerous during the week.

EDIT: Drink this back to back with Hopsoulution. Same beer almost, different strengths, makes the Oracle seem much lower in ABV when you drink it after a Hopsoulution.

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Photo of claspada
3.48/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 8/12/11. Pours a nice clear deep amber/copper color with adequate soapy/bubbly eggshell head lacing nice sticky lacing.

Aromas are really pleasant but quite typical for the style. Lots of sticky pine and grapefruit resiny hops. Also getting some nice floral, earthy, vegetile hops as well; smells like Simcoe was used here in combination with Centennial hops. There is a nice sweet bready malt backbone with hints of caramel, almost toffee maltiness. Very east coast/mid-country DIPA. Alcohol becomes apparent as it warms to room temperature.

The tastes begin initially with a little sweet bready and light caramel maltiness but they are immediately overpowered by the pungent grapefruit, blood orange and resiny pine hops. As you further sample you get the earthy and floral, almost oniony hops flavors. Alcohol once again becomes apparent as it warms to room temperature.

The mouthfeel is quite full bodied with adequate carbonation for the style. The finish is sticky and resiny and the grapefruit and pine bitterness lingers on the palate, alcohol is also drying on the palate which invites you to sample more, which is dangerous when you have such a big ABV beer.

Overall this is a decent example of the style but not my favorite by a long shot. Too much in the grapefruit and pine hop department and not enough of the sweeter citrus or tropical fruit flavors. I could and would not want more than 1 or 2 of these in a sitting because of the apparent alcohol flavors that emerge and the rather generic intense hop bitterness and flavor profile. Worth a go if you can buy it by the single but a 6 pack is not for me.

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