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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:
2,504
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
19.86%
 
 
Wants:
454
Gots:
355
For Trade:
7
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: 2,504
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 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 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!

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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 vic21234
4.06/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled on date of 07/10/15. I was extremely surprised to come across the last six pack of this at a local shop, as I've never been able to get my hands on a single bottle.

A- Pours a very nice looking cloudy orange color with a fair amount of white head which hangs around awhile.

S- Not as aromatic as I would expect, but some decent hints of pine on the nose.

T- Tons of piney resin character on the initial taste. I really don't get much citrus that some other reviews note. The back end of the taste leaves some heavy notes of caramel malts.

M- Medium bodied, very hoppy and bitter, alcohol is noticeable at 10% ABV. Leaves a rather dry finish.

Very nice sipping DIPA, and pleased that I got to try it. A bit pricey, but expected at a higher ABV.

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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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Photo of Dan3279
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured the 12oz bottle into my DFH snifter glass to find a fine dark copper body with a small white head that dissipated quickly. The aroma was fantastic, very welcoming and strong. The aroma was exactly what I expected and more. Dominated by citrus hops with a strong malt base with a dose of bitterness.

The flavor was great, I honestly expected a bit more and was a hair disappointed. I guess my only issue with the taste is that I wanted a bit more of malt sweetness in the middle. There is a A LOT going on here flavor wise, obviously the hops dominate the pallet upfront, mainly a combination of pine and citrus. The malts and alcohol are also present but like I said I wanted a little more sweet punch in the middle from the malts.

The beer was medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation but it is the dry bitterness in the lingering aftertaste that to me was a little too much.

Overall a solid double that I would drink again if I had the chance to but I wouldn't really actively search for it.

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

A - Batch 9901. It pours a small quarter inch of white head that recedes fairly quickly leaving a ring of lace. The beer has a clear, medium golden-orange appearance.

S - There is a pretty strong grapefruit aroma with hints of pine. There is also a pineapple aroma present. Light alcohol can be detected.

M - Medium-full in body with good carbonation. The beer coats the inside of your mouth with sticky sweetness and oily hops.

T - The taste reminds me of Founder's Devil Dancer which is another huge imperial IPA. Piny, bitter hops hit the taste buds first followed by light citrus. A plum like flavor paired with a malty sweetness pick up in the middle and continue into the grapefruit like finish. It finishes fairly bitter with traces of warm alcohol.

While an excellent beer, it almost seems more like a hoppy American Barleywine. It's just a barrage of malts and hops packing a nice alcohol heat. This one is a sipper for sure.

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Photo of hopsbreath
3.41/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Twelve ounce bottle poured into a snifter at 8 o'clock in the morning after working all night at the hospital. Big thanks goes out to Thorpe429 for including one of Larry Bell's hoppiest as an extra!

After a moderately hard pour, about a finger and a half of ivory head formed atop the orange-gold anti-freeze tinged body. The head recedes quickly and no cap is left. Minimal lacing shows up as well.

Very sweet smell contains lychee candy, passion fruit, and pineapple.

Of course the tendency is to compare this to Hopslam, and through the power of suggestion, it is similar. The obvious difference between the two comes out here at the taste. Oracle isn't near as sweet and malty as Hopslam but is way more bitter and dank.

Mouthfeel is semi-thin for how big of a beer this calculates out to. It is however pretty oily due to then reckless use of hops.

How drinkable can a 10% DIPA palate destroying hop bomb be? It comes right down to "do I want another"? The answer is no. I'm glad I got the chance to try it, but won't be seeking it out again. Give this a try if the chance presents itself but don't go out of your way to track it down. Track down Hopslam instead come early next year.

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Photo of Sideswipe
2.8/5  rDev -33%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle, dated 8/12/11, courtesy of Memyselfandi. Thanks Mike!

The Oracle pours a dark amber color with a finger of white head. The foam dissipates leaving sticky lacing and a thick coaster. The nose is citrus hops and caramel malt. Taste mirrors the nose with big orange and grapefruit up front. Hoppy bitterness is followed by a wave of sweet caramel malt. The hops never quite make a comeback and as a result the finish is sweet and boozy. Feel is thick and sticky with a low level of carbonation. Overall I found The Oracle to be a bit too malty, boozy and sweet. Almost in barleywine territory in my opinion. Glad I had the opportunity.

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

Poured from 12 ounce bottle into a snifter.

A: Pours a clear deep amber with a light white head.
S: Piney, citrusy, and hoppy.
T: Good balance between piney hops and sweet malt with a good hoppy bitter finish.
M: Light bodied and well carbonated.
D: The 10.0% abv never shows itself, even as it warms. This is a superb IIPA.

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Photo of ZeroSignal
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle with Bell's batch code; no date

A - Pours a very clear burnt orange/light amber with a one finger off-white head. Very sticky lacing that clings to the glass like glue

S - Sharp, citric aroma - grapefruit rind and tangerine, pine resin. Smells a bit malty as well

T&M - Very acidic feeling hop bitterness; very pungent (not in a bad way). Big smack of grapefruit and pith; a bit piney. Medium to full body with lighter carbonation. Has a bit of malt to balance. Finish is somewhat sour, spicy and dry with a bitterness that seems to carry on without end

D - A very powerful brew; big on flavors, big ABV, but I can't put it down. About as drinkable as such a big beer could be I suppose.

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Photo of oregonskibum
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. Batch 9306, 8/28/09

A: Color is a fairly bright orange. Pours with a 3/4 inch off-white head that gradually drops off to a thick film on top of the beer.

S: Tropical hops - pineapple - hit the senses first. Some herbal and piney hops are present as well. There's also a definite sweet caramel aroma balancing out the hops. Biscuity. Smells fairly big. Overall, nice smell though.

T: The piney hop blast up front is relatively short lived as a strong biscuity, sweet caramel malt flavor dominates the taste. Really unfortunate as the smell held a lot of promise for this beer. Not a bad taste, but not what it could have been. There is some warming on the finish. Finish is slightly bitter, although most of the hop flavors have already faded.

M: Medium to big body, a touch on the syrupy side. Definitely coats the tongue. Carbonation is fairly light.

D: The very first smell of this beer held a lot of promise, but subsequent smells and the taste were a little bit of a let down. In part, this is because of the beers age (10 months). I think some of the intense hop flavors have subsided. Still a really good beer, just not a shining DIPA and not quite to the point of a barleywine yet. I had no problem finishing the bottle though.

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

Huge thanks to N2168 for this much wanted DIPA. Poured into a surly darkness snifter (compliments of klikger)

This beer was worth the weight. Big layers of smell and flavor here. Over the top sweet pineapple juice swoons the tastebuds as you get slapped around by hops and surprised with a hint of chocolate and dark fruit. Some DIPAs really straddle the barley wine line, but this one just hints at it perfectly while maintaining a great IPA personality. It's a little too dry in the finish and a tad thin in the body but other than that it's just dandy.

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Photo of levifunk
3.29/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

shared by klikger. reviewed from notes taken a while back.

a - cloudy red/orange. good size off-white head.

s - faint, almost non-existing nose. barely picking up citrus hops.

t - sweet malts. while there is a bitter finish, there is little actual hops flavor. Quite a bit of booze, but at 10% and fresh, its expected.

overall - somewhat of a disappointment. i won't be seeking this out as there are great DIPA for far less money.

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Photo of screamking
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into snifter.

Appearance-pours dark apricot with a 2 finger white head. Great lacing. 4.5

Aroma-nice tropical smell, lots of mango and pineapple. Some orange and grapefruit as it warms a bit. A little bit of bready brown sugar hiding at the edge. Very nice tropical aroma. 4.5

Taste-bitter, bitter pineapple. After the bitterness fades there's a nice burst of mango sweetness. Some dank pine/earthy notes hit about mid palate. Back of the tongue stays With the bitterness and doesnt let up. Apricot and orange round out the tasting notes. 4.5

Feel-great feel for a DIPA, medium to full bodied, doesn't hide the ABV well and I kinda like that fact, its suppose to be a big beer. 4.75

Overall-honestly, this is a double that they need to make more of. It's not so incredibly great that it needs to be as limited as it is. Several brewers make beers that are very similar to this every single day. As big as Bells is I find it strange that this beer would be that expensive or time consuming to make. It's a killer double that needs to be more often. It's the only down side about this beer and for that... 4

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

Poured into a pint glass pours a amber rustic color with a fluffy foamy head that leavs nice thick lace on the glass. Smell is of a hop explosion, pine, and citrus throghout the nose. Taste is spot on, a nice strong balance of alcohol/malt/hops and it leaves a nice bitter aftertaste of straight hops. Bell's knows what they they are doing and put out possibly the greatest IPA's in the world, simply impressive.

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Photo of djhowell
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Sweet caramel and bread malts, honey, pine & citrus hops, bitter grapefruit finish. Boozy. It's not unlike Hopslam but I prefer this by a wide margin.

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Photo of MIbeer27
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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Photo of LiquidBread219
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A= Poured into my perfect pint glass it poured a very clear copper color and had a decent white head on it with some very nice lacing.

S= There is a very citrus smell like a pineapple very nice.

T= Very Good Flavor to this beer you get the citrus flavor at first and then it flows to a pine flovor kind of bitter at the end.

M= Nicely carbonated, really enjoyable.

D= Really a great beer glad I got to check it out if you have the chance it's worth it very good beer it's a shame it limited.

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Photo of hawks10
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle - Batch 9901 - Bottled August 23rd, 2010 - Poured into my Bell's tulip...

Pours a hazy golden orange with a touch of light brown. Three fingers of dense off white head forms, sticks around for a while before receding and leaves some nice lacing behind...

Floral hops with a citrus twist dominates the nose. Sweet.

Sweet citrus hops dominate the taste initially, but after a couple seconds there is an overwhelming bitterness that lingers seemingly forever...Loads of citrus before an earthy, floral bitterness sets in. Malt is in hiding...

Medium to heavy bodied. Somewhat thick and sticky, decent carbonation. Drying bitterness lingering well into the aftertaste...

Pretty drinkable for such a one-sided beer. No real balance, but the flavor is still good and drinkability still pretty high, I don't usually feel that way...

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

Last of the 10 that I bought. Figured I'd get a review of it in. Obviously I already think it's pretty good.

A - Poured into my St. Feuillien balloon. I know I know, but I like it. Clear copper body with a nice little jet of bubbles shooting up from the nucleation site in the glass. The head, a 1 finger white cap of foam, sticks around for a little bit, and laces the glass the whole way down.

S - This is actually deteriorating a bit since the last bottle I had. What once was almost pure hoppy pineappley goodness, is now slightly vegetal and wet-grassy. However the more it opens up, the more it smells like it originally did... a fruity melange of hop aromas and an underlying malty sweetness.

T - While the hops have diminished slightly since the release, there is a definite kick in the mouth from the alpha acids. This is basically a hop bomb with the only balance being from a light malt base and a decent amount of residual sweetness. It's quite bitter, but totally works. In terms of an American DIPA, it's spot on, with it's only rivals being other Bell's and Short's brews, and west coast hop monsters.

M - Nice thickness, nice oily mouthfeel on the backend, and great carbonation. Solid beer.

D - I normally don't think of DIPA's as a go to beer, but if this was available, I'd buy it all the time. One of the better DIPA's out of Michigan recently.

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