The Oracle - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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The OracleThe Oracle

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664 Reviews
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Reviews: 664
Hads: 2,240
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 9.52%
Wants: 454
Gots: 263 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-04-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 664 | Hads: 2,240
Photo of schwemjw
4.48/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: clear dark copper with a beautiful soapy rocky head. carbonation is abundant with fantastic lacing.

S: you can smell this beer from a mile off. travertine, nectar, apricot, and nectarine. fresh orange zest and white peach. very sweet and juicy.

T: tough caramel. tangerine and peach. bright citrus. slightly floral. very bitter exit. juicy with sight traces of alcohol.

M: extremely long bitter finish. light to medium mouth feel.

O: fantastic bitterness without being dry. full tropical fruit. so tastey!!
/93 (519 characters)

Photo of fear025
4.14/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma:I get some nice sweet malt in the aroma, and a little bit of grapefruity hops.

Appearance:Amber in color, nice white head, great retention.

Taste:On first sip, the hops in this beer hit me in the face hard! After a few more sips, I can start to differentiate some different flavors. I can taste some peach and nectarine in the hops, also a little pine. Some nice hope sweetness provides a good backbone to this one. The fruity flavors linger pleasantly on my tongue well into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel:This beer has a medium body, and some nice alcohol warmth. It's also kind of creamy.

Drinkability:Once you get past the initial hop bomb, this is a very enjoyable beer. It's hard not to compare this to HopSlam though, which I think is a little better. (763 characters)

Photo of jt31914
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: One finger of head - hazy gold/amber color. The beer almost goes from light on the outside to amber in the center. Slightly darker for a form of an IPA - head disappeared quickly.

S: Very citrus type smell - specifically with orange. Also has a hint of hops.

T: Intense citrus/orange taste; it is hoppy as it goes down yet the aftertaste leaves orange in the mouth. The beer balances the citrus and bitterness phenomenally; the orange is the dominant flavor, but does not overtake the beer.

M: Bubbly and smooth. Very refreshing.

D: Highly drinkable - this smooth and refreshing beer is one I could easily down a six pack of.

The bitterness of this beer comes out as it warms, which only makes the whole drink better.

This beer is like Oberon on steroids! (765 characters)

3.4/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked up this brew at a bottle shop in DC. It was in Dupont Circle with my cousin. Good times.

A: Hazy burnt/dark shade of orange. Decent white head with lots of oil stickiness lacing the glass. Looks good.

S: sweet and fruity grapefruit nose with a mild pine grass quality in the background.

T: hot... very powerful IPA. got a lot of booze burn right away. Not smooth. Starts nice with some sweet citrus flavors, then a significant dry grasslike finish with a good dose of burn. There is some sweet malt character in here too, right in the middle. Overall its really not smooth and has a harsh finish. Too sharp. Needs to be more balanced. The finish is all dry hop flavors and alcohol. It sits for a while soaking up your saliva.

M: full oil like with a super dry booze finish. very dry on the end.
feels smooth at first, then finishes very very dry.

O: Just not feeling this one, I guess if your shooting for a more abrasive dry big american IPA style then it would be understandable. But this is just does not have the complexity, balance, and mouth-feel that I think great DIPA's has. Its not really bad, just not enough balance for me. Maybe its just me. (1,169 characters)

Photo of codewarrior
3.45/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz from a trade into a Chalice (Bottle says 9901)

Picked this up in a trade with 7ways. Utterly disappointing (he warned me ...).

A: Deep amber. A finger or so of head, dissipates quickly, little to no lacing.

S: Hoppy and sweet. But more sweet than hoppy. Lots of fruits in this. Unexpected for a DIPA.

T: Sweet up front, in the severe, then massive hops in the back. Pineapple notes, and caramel in the middle. Lingering bitterness.

F: Creamy, heavier than expected.

D: Ok. Disappointing from Bell's, especially for a style from which I expect so much. (562 characters)

Photo of kirkpjr
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch #9901. Poured into a tulip.

A: Pours a slightly thin golden amber color. One finger of head with moderate lacing up and down the glass.

S: Juicy pineapple chunks off the bat. Tropical fruits with floral highlights. Citrus also present. If this is 4 months out I can't imagine how mouth watering this beer smells fresh.

T: Fresh pineapple, with a hefty grapefruit-esque bitterness on the tail. Biscuity malt backbone helps "balance" the beer, but the bitterness plays a clear role in the forefront. Citrus flavors and a little lemon zest in each sip. A great DIPA, but Hopslam still grabs my attention over this when it comes to Bell's DIPA's.

M: Sticky, resinous hops cover the palette. Medium body with a little syrupy feel. Moderate carbonation.

D: Wow. I didn't even realize until I looked up on the review page that I'm drinking a 10+%ABV beer. Goes down exceptionally well, with bitterness being the only deterrent (if that is such a thing). (958 characters)

Photo of fields336
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

SN tulip, 8./10/12 date

A: golden, light amber, honey color with a huge collar or thick off white yellowish head on top. lacing is phenominal, carbonation looks great

S: grapefruit, citrus, tropical fruit, slight pine/floral, sweet malt backbone, with a touch of booziness in the background

T: sweet is my first impression then a huge wave of piney, grapefruit, citrus, peach, pineapple comes through and finishes on a nice balanced dry bitter/malty finish, the best of both flavors. touch of booziness but i expect it at 10%

M: not too thick, but still you can tell its a DIPA, the carbonation is spot on imo

O; not as good as hopslam, but still a delicious beer (668 characters)

Photo of nandemo1
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear gold with a giant cascading white head, definitely 2+ fingers. Head settled out over time and left a lot of sticky lacing.

Smells heavily of piney hops with some sweet citrus notes. Taste is also very piney but not overly bitter. Alcohol is present me up as I get through the glass.

Feels medium bodied with decent carbonation. Very smooth but a little hot at times. (382 characters)

Photo of TCHopCraver
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes on 9/8/10.

A: Pours a dark orange and gold, bordering on amber, into my snifter. A slight head vanishes immediately, leaving a spongy white film on top. The carbonation looks to be moving at a slow to medium pace. The lacing is thin and fine, like delicate handwriting with a quill and ink.

S: A load of citrus hops (mainly grapefruit) with a little bit of pine hop smell jump into my nose upfront, balanced by just enough of a caramel malt presence. I also smell a fair amount of dry biscuit and a little bit of coppery tap water.

T: Wow, that is dry, earthy hopticism. The citrus hop notes definitely shine through (although more orange than grapefruit), but this is definitely one of the drier hop profiles I have tasted in a DIPA. Like in the smell, the caramelized malts stand up to the hops, but only for a second in the middle of the sip. After that, the hops blow the face off of the malt. The aftertaste is almost the exact lasting flavor I have had on my tongue when I have eaten hops in the past.

M: Oracle is medium bodied, with a very puckering finish. The creaminess of the sweet malts graces my palate for a very short time before the bitter, earthy hops dry my palate and leave their flowery, alpha-acid goodness all over my tongue.

D: This guy is big and bitter, but that is a pleasant departure from a lot of other DIPAs that I have had. I definitely will consume more of this treat, but with some beers in between so that I can enjoy this beast anew. (1,497 characters)

Photo of SamuelJackson45
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a bright ornage amber color with a nice white head.

S-Smell of hops and malts with a citrus overtones.

T-Taste of citrus and hops and a little malt background.

M-semi-dry flavors linger through out sip.

D- Very good IPA from the midwest.Good taste and flavor. Worth another drink.

Cheers. (302 characters)

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

Appearance is a very pretty; pure orange/brown amber. Head is smooth and never entirely fades; superb lacing.

Nose has tons of floral hops, with some malt and oak.

Taste has oaky hops, sweet-caramel malt, juicy fruit, and tart tangerine. None of the tinniness you may find in some double IPA's.

Mouthfeel is silky smooth, with medium carbonation. The hops do not add a "bite" as you would normally find, but instead create a consistent, vibratory acidity. All the flavors you expect, but no pucker.

Overall, this beer is a gem. Tons of flavor and a pleasure to drink. Likely the best Bell's I have tried. (608 characters)

Photo of yuenglingfan101
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into my pint glass. Another great beer from one of my favorite breweries. This beer had a orangeish hue to it and with a little bit of head. Had the taste of grapefruit and other citris flavor to it. Taste like an IPA. Nice occasional beer with friends. (260 characters)

Photo of stvanderwoude
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance is a very enticing hazy golden orange. Nice white frothy head. Bubbly carbonation.

Aroma suggests serious dry hopping. Mouthwatering sweet grapefruit, pineapple, tangerine, ripe melon. This smells amazing. This is one for the tropical hopheads.

Taste follows through on the nose's promise. Sweet, luscious citrus fruit, red grapefruit, sour orange and a dry, mildly bitter, peppery finish. Caramel malts are in the background but support the hops nicely. This is no palate destroying IBU monster. Medium carbonation and smooth mouthfeel for the style. Fragrantly bittersweet, refreshing and incredibly drinkable. Wouldn't know this is 10% ABV.

Overall - This is a top tier DIPA. Better than Hopslam? A case could be made. (736 characters)

Photo of Shumista
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Glad to see this one around again. Batch 9901, still very fresh. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. I let it warm up just a little bit before diving in.

Pours golden amber, small off white head. Looks pretty tasty. Smells of sweet sticky malt, and citrusy hops. The best way I can describe the taste is a layering of hops. Citrusy hops and grapefruit dominate, with some earthy hops and some pine in the background. Nice caramelly backbone. It gives you that feeling in the back of your throat that a good bitter DIPA does. Very enjoyable in everywhere.

I'm glad this one lived up to my expectations. I had begun to lose some faith in Bell's after a mediocre visit to the brewpub and what I thought were very underwhelming efforts in Batch 9K and their 25th anniversary ale. I can't wait to try hopsolution and the the wild one. (841 characters)

Photo of ahq514
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into tulip glass.

Pours a clear, deep, golden color with a solid one finger head that diminishes, but still maintains some head. Carbonation appears to be about moderate. Beautiful lacing appears as the sides of glass are caked in lace. One of the best lacing beers I've had.

The aroma is reminiscent of many other DIPAs. A good dose of hops that has a heavy, sweet, malt component to it. Hops are mainly floral, but with a dash of citrus.

Taste starts off with a big burst of floral hops that transitions beautifully into a big malty sweet component. The lingering taste is the bittering hops that leave a sticky bitterness in your mouth.

Mouthfeel is good for the most part. Love the carbonation, a little on the lower side. The big thing where I think this beer could use improvement is the body. Would love some more body on this beer. Pretty drinkable for a 10% beer.

This is a pretty good DIPA overall. The taste and how the different flavors transition is magnificent. The main thing that brings it down is the body for me. Overall a pretty good DIPA. (1,088 characters)

Photo of MPLS
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I genuinely like the name of this beer. It has a great historical name referencing Greek culture, on the bottle is a picture of the Delphic Oracle sitting atop the cauldron.

Big thanks to Chris for throwing this one into a trade! I decided this beer and all big hop profile beers should be enjoyed sooner than later, so here we go...Bottled on August 28, 2009 I am certain not all hops are lost.

A: Neon orange colored body, 3 cm woven cloth looking head that won't leave, slug like lacing, and lively carbonation.

S: After almost inhaling the head from enjoying this citrus bomb I get whiffs of the big hops making the Oracle so well received. It seems less citrusy than Hopslam (judging from memory), but that could be the result of not drinking the beer as freshly. I get the typical big ADIPA citrus fruits: Grapefruit, Orange, and hint of pineapple. I enjoy it when haters of IPAs say it smells like cat piss! HA

T: Almost everything in this beer's flavor spectrum is dominated by hops, from start to finish. Up front is a very prickly grapefruit bite in this beer. The middle of of the Oracle is a pleasant tongue watering orange and lastly there is a pressing citrus peel flavor. Alcohol is discernible through a lot of the beer, good hop profile on this beer.

M: Perfect mouf for this style. Absolutely silky smooth with enough of an oily hop constituent making matter even better.

D: Good drinker for the hop lover, although I find the taste to be really up to snuff I'd favor other DIPA/IPA offerings. I would prefer a little bit more of a malt profile to balance things out. A great DIPA from Bell's though. (1,624 characters)

Photo of ryrust5301
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A little lighter than a normal dipa, and is a see through honey color. Lacing is up to snuff, and hangs around for quite some time. Very bitter in the nose, but it's balanced out with a smooth sweetness and an underlying citrus aroma. It's really a testament to bells when you taste how they bring everything together. Hops are strong enough to make sure it stays bitter throughout, but the way the sweet caramel malt is blended in, all the while staying smooth in the feel is unrivaled by most any other brewer. I equate this very much to a pliny the elder, and thats high company. Very good in it's depth and drinkability. Oracle is everything and more that Bell's usually offers. (682 characters)

Photo of MIbeer27
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle, dated 07/10/15.

Bottle pours a hazy golden orange with a one-finger, white head that recedes but never fully fades. Lacing was outstanding.

Big aroma of pineapple, orange, and apricot. Notes of pine needles are also there, along with a light malt presence.

Taste starts with a balance of the pineapple/orange/apricot notes from the hops and appropriate malt sweetness. This quickly shifts to a rush of pine and resounding, drying bitterness that linger on the tongue for quite some time. Alcohol is noticeable, but expected and subtle.

Mouthfeel is resinous with moderate, prickly at times carbonation. Warming from the alcohol is noticeable all the way to my stomach.

Overall, The Oracle is almost exactly what I look for in a Double IPA. That is, huge punches of hops that don't get overshadowed by the malt sweetness. That being said, I wish the taste stuck with the extremely fruity aroma throughout. Bitterness is also about as high as I can take it. My palette still favors Hopslam, but this is a great offering from Bell's. (1,053 characters)

Photo of shangwang
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Dogfish IPA glass.

Hazy and golden and color with a nice full finger of fluffy white head. Lots of thick lacing on the glass as it reduces. Great smell - grass and grapefruit with some pine. Loads of bitterness in the taste. It leave my smacking my lips with a dry sensation. Great airy mouthfeel with lots of carbonation. Really enjoyed this one - happy that I was lucky enough to get a bottle! (410 characters)

Photo of pdoran10
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

picked up a few 12oz. bottles of this hard to find beer at the closest liquor store. brand new batch of a well rated double ipa? yes please!

pours out a beautiful slightly hazy copper color into a tulip glass. nice finger and a half of head that leaves behind great lacing.

smell is a hint of orange with pine like hop smell coming through. maybe some lemon too.

taste is powerful pine up front, yeah this is just mostly piney hops. finishes with a really tasty caramlized malt profile that blends well with the hops.

mouthfeel is thick but normal for a double ipa. carbonation is a bit higher than normal but works well here.

nice double ipa overall not blown away by this beer, but wouldnt mind having another one in a sitting. strong hop profile makes it a little bit of a sipper, but thats ok. (803 characters)

Photo of Ek0nomik
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured In: Snifter
Purchased At: Steve's (Madison, WI)
Batch 9901 (August 23, 2010)

Appearance: The pour is an amber and burnt orange with not even a finger of head produced. The high alcohol is likely the culprit of the low head. A few swirls in the glass reveals small dots of lace across the glass; there's no thick sheets from the sticky malt. Again, I think I know the culprit. The beer is slightly effervescent, and what do you know, the little head there was has found a better home.

Smell: Alcohol shines through on the nose quite noticeably, but to be honest I'm not finding it unpleasant. Tonight I'm in the mood for something a little stronger. Working in IT puts strain on the body! ;) Sticky caramel malt is definitely there, but the alcohol and hops blast through. The hops bring in grass, grapefruit and orange peel.

Taste: Alcohol and some darker caramel malt start things off. The malt is a bit more dark on the palate than I was expecting, but, as luck would have it, the malt doesn't last long. The abundance of hops start to pull their weight, both in bitterness and in flavor. They bring herbal flavors like grass and pine, and then finish the tasting off with more grapefruit and orange.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation was pretty damn close to being perfect, I did let it sit for a brief period to let some of the carbonation die down. The body is medium to full.

Drinkability: This really is a fantastic beer, but, *but*, after having so many different IPA's and IIPA's, I feel like it does get lost in the mix. I love Bell's, and I'm glad they added another IPA to their collection, but there are many beers like it. Nonetheless, this will end up in my crate again because let's face it, an IIPA is just what you need sometimes. (1,749 characters)

Photo of PerzentRizen
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel glass this is the second time I've had this beer in the past week thanks to brewdan. I still have one more and I think I'll enjoy that tomorrow night..first I'll have to consult the Oracle. This beer is just too good to put down. The color is a glowing copper and the head is nothing more than some collected bubbes as an island in the vast sea of heavenly nectar.

The aroma is piney hops, sweet malt, and white peppery notes. This beer tends to really open up around 45 degrees; much below that and the aromas really are sealed in.

The taste is intensely bitter hops followed by a chewed asprin twang then to a more balanced intensely sweet malt then back to a floral hop flavor. It's almost as if this beer ate hopslam and shat it out but in a good way. The intense honey sweetness is no where in site but you can just about find everthing else you like about hopslam.

The mouthfeel is chewy and perfect for the style. This is much like Moylan hopsickle in mouthfeel. Oracle almost seems like syrup until you start to swallow then it gives in a great way. The intense flavors coat the tongue and the hop resins make the mouth smack while the texture is smooth and creamy.

Drinkability is tough. You want to drink six of these but know you can't. This beer has to be around 9-12% abv. Also the price and rarity will stop you if you can't help yourself. At $4 a bottle and harder to find than a virgin college sophomore this beer is on everyone's want list...the Oracle told me. (1,502 characters)

Photo of zoso493
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first review in a long time after a lengthy BA hiatus. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a not-quite-dry DFH signature glass.

Appearance: Pours a brilliant, burnt copper orange. This beer glows an absolutely radiant amber-orange when held up to the light. A timid pour produces a foamy one-finger head that dissipates quickly and leaves some narrow striations of lacing on the glass.

Smell: This is just a sensational scent for a DIPA. Nothing but hops in the nose. There's a big blast of juicy, fruity hops up front that absolutely decimate the malts. The tropical hops are just immense in the smell, exactly as the should be in a DIPA. If you really strain, you can detect some slightly sugary and lightly toasted malts hiding somewhere in the background.

Taste: This is just a brashly hopped out DIPA that says to hell with balance and malts, DIPA's should be about the hops. It's a bitter, monstrous DIPA and I love that about it. I can barely even distinguish between the hops in the taste, and I suppose ultimately that is what prevents this beer from attaining the perfect. I am assuming from the smell that the hops are of a juicy, orange fruity character, but my palate is too far destroyed at this point to say for sure. The malts in this one are unique, if only hardly detectable. Most big DIPA's go for the sugary, caramel malts to coat the hops, but Bells has chosen to give this one a toasted malt profile.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel in Oracle is very nice. It's just thick enough without being cumbersome, but still does not leave a big cloying sensation on your palate, though the hops do stick around enough to let you know they're there.

Drinkability: If I have one quip with the Oracle it's that the alcohol is little bit too noticeable in the taste. It's certainly not very offputing, but it really doesn't belong in a DIPA.

Overall, Bells Oracle is yet another great offering Larry Bell. I'm an unabashed hophead and this brew is exactly the cure for a hop fix. Though Oracle is not complex enough to be considered a really "elite" beer, it is still a masterfully powerful DIPA and one that I consider myself lucky to have tried. (2,162 characters)

Photo of Verecund
3.56/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 9901, bottled on 08.23.2010. Consumed on 10.14.2010.

Mango Tango (TM) with a lightly peach colored head. Thick, persistent head.

Nice tropical fruit, orange, and grapefruit presence in the nose, but it's a bit muted. It's as if, library-ridden, the hops have been told to be quiet by the sugary, biscuit malty backbone. I prefer some balance to my [I]IPAs, but I think this would be better fresher, with a pit more tropical-punch punch.

Dank herbal and floral hop bitterness hits the tongue, but is cut through by the light tropical notes (much less here than in the nose). The hop profile is a bit muddled, in my opinion, but that could be due to a) the age and b) the biscuity, grainy malt presence that's higher than the average DIPA. Some minor pepper on the finish.

Somewhat slick and oily. Fairly creamy until the end of the palate.

Not a palate destroyer, but it is as if someone took a plastic axe to my tongue after awhile, which just dulls the flavor more. A somewhat-fruity, somewhat-earthy/dank plastic axe. (1,033 characters)

Photo of claminat420
3.03/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- alil cloudy golden color. nice white two finger head with medium lacing.

S- hoppy and sweet

T- god i don't even know. alil malty, alil sweet, alil hoppy

M- sturdy medium body. good carbonation.

D- could drink one or two.

Overall- i'm not trying to be a d#ck here and just slam bell's but lookout!!! they put out a special...everyone jumps on it... nothing to special. to me founder's double trouble buried this in a heartbeat. (435 characters)

The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
93 out of 100 based on 664 ratings.