The Oracle - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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The OracleThe Oracle

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665 Reviews
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Reviews: 665
Hads: 2,249
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 9.52%
Wants: 454
Gots: 267 | 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: 665 | Hads: 2,249
Photo of kylehayworth
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I should be thankfull I even got to try this, apparently very limited in the Indy area.

A: Dark burnt orange in color, with a few light reddish orange highlights. The head is moderate with dancing carbonation under it.

S: It has a good hop smell, orange tangerine piney hops with a backdrop of sweetness. The sweetness smells of honey/honeysuckle.

T: Starts off sublimey sweet and malty, then turns hoppy/bitter. The hop profile seems somewhat underwhelmed from the malty profile and alcohol tinge.

M/D: The texture was very nice. It was very creamy and full. This is a good brew but not what I thought given the difficulty to obtain as well as the price. (662 characters)

Photo of jtd1969
4.77/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

had it in a 10oz pour from a bar in Raleigh, NC

A - Orange/golden color in the glass

N - Lot's of grapefruit and pine. Smelled so good

T - Carbonation is crisp. Tastes like a tropical citrus paradise with lots of hops(Front end), that turns smooth still ringing with hops(back end). Such a complex beer. The sweet malt yet powerful hop taste does a really great job at keeping the 10.4 % hidden as well. Definitely a must for all Imperial IPA drinkers.

M - malty with a pleasant sweetness that makes way for the hop explosion. So good.

Overall, a very delicious beer. Being that it was beer week in Raleigh the 60+tap bar had 10 different "rare beers" on tap, however I still had to order another one of these... (717 characters)

Photo of dc55110
3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Bell's tulip. Bottled date 8/12/11.

A vigorous pour yields a 1/2 to 3/4 inch foamy head, it dissipates slowly to a nice froth, which in turn leaves a nice ring of lacing around the glass. The liquid is a nice deep copper color. A steady stream of carbonation bubbles work their way up from the bottom.

The aroma is very full of citrus fruits; Pineapple, grapefruit, a little mango? At the very back of there is also hints pine. Only on the deepest in inhalations do I detect a sweet malty aroma.

I'm a bit taken back by the initial flavors. The pine and malts which were nearly drowned out by the citrus aromas are front and center on the tongue... The fruity hops are there but not as present as the nose let on. The 10% ABV which was hidden quite well during the sniff test, is not quite as elusive on the way down the gullet. As it warms the pine and booze become more assertive.

The body of this is every bit IIPA. Clean, crips and finishes without too much malty sweetness. The carbonation is spot on.

While this is fine example of a IIPA, I wouldn't go out of my way to grab it again, especially at the hwy robbery price I paid ($4.99). It isn't a malty syrupy mess like Double Crooked Tree or hop bomb like Devil Dancer. At the same time it isn't nearly as well developed as Exponential Hoppiness or Abrasive. Is it a really good Imperial IPA? Yeah! (1,388 characters)

Photo of K-Dog
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Perfect golden cooper color with a rich fantastic aroma. Taste is about as good as it gets for an ipa. Hopslam and Oracle are at the game when it comes to dipas. There might be a few better but not many. (205 characters)

Photo of runner440
4.74/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this beer in my epic Michigan box from Marc. This DIPA was awesome. Had huge sweet hop nectar and an epic malty backbone. Could not taste the 10% alcohol at all. The bottle was very drinkable and I had no problems finishing it myself. One of the best DIPAs I have ever had. Highly recommended. (297 characters)

Photo of darthvohn
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Glass Used: Tulip

Appearance: An Import from the Mid-West thanks to Pintofbrown. The body is a hazy honey-orange with a generous ivory white egg foam head. Lacing is excellent and clingy as the head shrinks down the sides of the glass. Tiny carbonation bubbles trickle up from the bottom in a random simmering way.

Smell: First comes the botanical hops, followed by piney resin and mild fruits and citrus. Malt is there the whole time. Every inhale seems to finish with some malty goodness.

Taste: The flavors do not tip toe around in your mouth. Right up front is a huge wash of biscuit malt and light sorghum syrup sweetness. I get some light bitter citrus pith mid-palate. Then BAM! The piney, resiny hops sucker punches you in the taste buds. The bitterness from the hops linger around quite a while, teasing you to take another sip.

Mouthfeel: A slick/lip smacking glaze coats the mouth after every drink. Medium carbonation throughout with warming alcohol in the finish.

Overall: This is another hopped up beer from the Mid-west that I really dig. A resiny hoppy beast that was a pleasure to consume and would drink again without question. Any piney, resiny hop lovers would really appreciate this beer. (1,215 characters)

Photo of kellyst
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Dark gold in color with superb clarity. Almost non-existent head and lacing. Strong aroma of tropical fruits. Initial taste is all american hops with almost no malt profile. I liked the taste better as it warmed, and a slightly toasty, dry malt character comes forward. It's not as good as Hopslam, but is still a fantastic DIPA. (329 characters)

Photo of clint1019
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Golden color with a thick cream colored head that sticks to the glass and leaves some nice lacing.

S - Big, Big, Big citrusy, piney hop aroma.

T - Has a nice sweet malt taste up front and a blast of hop bitterness on the back.

M - Medium bodied and full of carbonation that dances across the tongue.

O - Damn this is a fine beer. My mouth is still tingling from all those hops. Will definitely look for this one again next year and would definitely recommend to anyone who loves hops. (492 characters)

Photo of Duane_Opfer
4.8/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Phenomenal! Loads of hops and grape fruit rind. At least a top 5 beer for me.

A - Light orange/amber. Poured a light head.

S - Hints of apricot.

T - Intense citrus/grapefruit flavor with a load of hops. Intense hop flavor on back of tongue. As it warms, malt flavor comes out as well.

M - Full bodied; feels luxurious in the mouth.

TRY THIS IF YOU CAN! (357 characters)

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

12oz bottle picked up at the Eccentric Cafe. Batch 9306. Served in a pint glass while enjoying Labor Day at a friends house in Ann Arbor.

A: Finger of creamy marshmallow head which hangs around for some time. Pours like a radiant sunburst. There is plenty of active carbonation and lacing is superb for a DIPA.

S: Sweet crushed pineapple, mango, oranges and bouquet of other tropical fruits. Some piney hops round out the enticing aroma.

T: Juicy tropical fruit sweetness hits right off the bat. Followed by big resinous, tongue biting pine heavy hops. Now this is the freshness! Along with the 110 IBU bitter finish, I get a little bit of heat, but it's pretty insignificant considering the ABV.

M: Medium body. A little chewy, but in a good way. Carbonation is just right for a DIPA.

D: For a DIPA clocking in at over 10%, this is one drinkable brew. I could easily kill a few of these back-to-back.

Another fantastic creation by Larry Bell and co. Right up there with Big Head and Hopslam when at their peak. Speaking freshness, I think The Oracle might be a little too fresh? It'll be interesting in a month or two to see if the hops calm down some. That was the only thing holding me back from giving The Oracle a 5/5 for taste. Either way it's still an amazing brew. Word from Larry is we might see this distributed widely next year. I hope that's the case for all the hopheads out there! (1,403 characters)

Photo of Pecorasc
4.02/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

"A double IPA that is sure to make you as all-knowing as Pythia. It's just a matter of interpretation."

12oz bottle split two ways into wine glasses. tells me that this bottle was packaged on August 28, 2009.

A- Pours a hazy deep orange that blends to a brighter yellow near the stem of the wine glass. A swirl leaves some suds and sediment on the sides of the glass. A near perfect white foam collects itself into an irregular collar; the remainder is covered in a thin white film. No noticeable carbonation other than a single line of beads.

S- Smells like a fruit bowl that is served with breakfast: musk-melon, honeydew, orange, pineapple, grapefruit, and grapes. These fruity flavors are separated from the bitterness in the aroma. Alcohol is present, but is not overpowering. Very unique aroma!

T- The fruit bowl in the aroma turns into a harsher fruit based alcohol on the palate. Intense bitterness, followed by a mild fruit character which eventually leads to a warming sensation from the alcohol. Every bit of this ABV is present and accounted for. Hidden beneath all this intensity is a pine and citrus hop flavor that is unfairly muted.

M- Highly carbonated with a medium mouthfeel. However, the bitterness and alcohol make it tough to trust my own judgment of the mouthfeel.

D- One 12oz bottle should be enough. A couple Hopslams would not be a problem, but the alcohol-forward intensity of The Oracle make it tough to drink more than a small amount. A rare DIPA sipper. Definitely worth the try, as Bell's tried pushing the limit on this one. Keep it up! (1,589 characters)

Photo of otto251068
3.96/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Chimay chalice

Appearance: Dark copper. Absolutely beautiful color. After the pour the already thin, but bubbly head quickly dissipates into a light lacing floating in the middle of the glass. Eggshell colored head, no lacing.

Smell: Very clean and crisp. Strong hop presence, but not overpowering. Also plenty of pine. Some citrus, mainly orange with some grapefruit.

Taste: Sweetness right off the bat, some malts too for just a second, but that doesn't last long. Immediately the citrus hits, mostly grapefruit, a little piney flavor, then the hops. The hop flavor dominates this beer, but it is never overpowering (if that makes sense)

Mouthfeel: The carbonation feels great on the tongue, and seems to grow before the swallow. The beer feels syrupy, but also finishes fairly clean, with a little bitterness staying in the back of the throat.

Overall: Very good, well balanced DIPA, not a "hopbomb." This is a very well balanced beer. Usually for me it's "one and done" when it comes to 10.0% ABV DIPAs, but I could drink a few of these back to back. (1,094 characters)

Photo of JToad
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured directly into my Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass a dark copper, about the color of a penny.

Minimal head with decent lacing on the sides.

Smells of tropical bitterness. Hops are very noticeable, without being overpowering.

Smoothe and hoppy bitterness, yet not sharp like many other DIPAS. Some sweetness on the sides.

For the ABV to be 10%, this has to be the easiest drinking DIPA I have ever had. The alcohol is very well masked, and the hop profile is very present, without being over the top. A very complex example of a style not know for being complex. Most brewers just throw hops in the kettle, this has some thought and balance.

Love it. Another IPA done perfect by a great brewery. Not as good as the BIG HEAD SAN DIEGO STYLE ALE from a few years ago, but I think I enjoy this more than HopSlam. (818 characters)

Photo of beerdedking
3.6/5  rDev -14.3%

Perhaps it was my much too high expectation of this that I was let down. I've had many examples of DIPAs, and The Oracle didn't live up to most.

The pour leaves me optimistic as it immediately appears like a glass of thick and chewy hops. Which it is. Brownish copper (like its label) in color with a two finger head, the hops come right at the nose, and I'm still thinking this will be awesome.
Ubiquitous hop flavors of pine and grapefruit are nice, but the bitterness kicks in too early before the hop complexity can get going.
Also this lacks the palate leveling quality of hop resin soaking into the taste buds. Bells, give us Hopslam twice/year, and take The Oracle back in for an overhaul... (708 characters)

Photo of Amyliz4
4.87/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a beautiful golden orange with a 3/4 inch off white head.

S: Smells like pure heaven. Citrus and crisp hops.

T: The taste is absolutely perfect. This beer has everything I want in an IPA--intense hops, lots of sweetness, and a bite of citrus.

M: The mouthfeel is just right. It's light, yet filling. Crisp and slightly creamy.

D: The Oracle is incredibly drinkable. This beer is one of the best I've had and I hope Bell's decides to brew more of if more often! (474 characters)

Photo of Spiekerbox
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A- Deep amber-orange color with a thin head that takes force to make. Head lingers for a while after the pour and sticks to the glass.

S- Hoppy, Hoppy with a floral citrus aroma. A little malt there, but pretty hidden by the hops.

T- Very bitter and hoppy at the start. A nice sweet maltyness in there and a finish that is strong and bitter. Strong alcohol warmth with the finish as well

M- Thicker than I would have expected but would say it is medium-high in body with moderate carbonation. Very sticky which leaves to a long aftertaste.

O- Good beer, definitely not a quick drink and pretty complex. Wouldn't want to drink more than a couple in a night but I dont think I would be able to anyway. Quite an enjoyable beer :) (730 characters)

Photo of znichols
3.79/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Straight clear orange with a resilient white head. A good amount of sticky lacing clings to the glass too. Looks pretty standard to me. Looks like a double ipa.

S- Pungent hops and very very sweet malt in the aroma. There is a little bit of alcohol in there too. I would say grapefruit, pine, caramel, and alcohol.

T-Very delicious maltyness to this beer; not expected. The hops make an appearance at the end and really linger on the tastebuds. Think grapefruit, pine sap, and a little fresh cut grass. The caramel, toffee, brown sugar malt really overtakes this beer though. Not what i expected nor what i look for when purchasing a DIPA. not necessarily bad though.

M- Oily slick mouthfeel with moderate to low carbonation. Really glides across the tongue but kinda fails to really pull you in.

O- You know, this is a very good beer. Its biggest fault is the fact that it is too malty. Unfortunately it wasn't quite what i was looking for nor expecting in this brew. It really really is like an imperial two-hearted ale, with the caramel malt and touch of centennial hops really shining through. As others have said, might be closer to a barley wine than a DIPA. Not that bad, but not as advertised. (1,208 characters)

Photo of schultzi22
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip.

A: A relatively dark color for a DIPA. Beautiful lacing.
N: Hops! Wonderful bitterness with only a slight hint of sweetness and malt.
T: Sweeter than the first bottle I had, likely due to 'aging' and the copious amount of Zombie Dust I've been drinking lately. The hops come through with a fresh grassy flavor and the bitterness really takes hold during the second half of the taste. Interestingly, more malt come through than on my previous tasting, but I'm not sure it feels better balanced because of it.
M: A nice, thick feel on the tongue. Just enough carbonation.
O: I'm a little disappointed that I'm not liking it more, because I thought it was exceedingly tasty the first time I had it. Again, I'm going to chalk it up to the Zombie Dust blunting the citrus flavors from my initial sample. Still an outstanding beer. (847 characters)

Photo of Homers_Beer_Odyssey
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

APPEARANCE - Clear orange with a off-white 2-finger head that lasts. Good lacing

AROMA/SCENT - Sweet, citrusy.

TASTE - Bitter, dry. ABV well-hidden.

MOUTHFEEL/PALATE/TEXTURE - Beer is light, well-carbonated, with a pleasantly creamy head.

VALUE - A bit pricey

OVERALL/DRINKABILITY - A very fine beer indeed. Quaffable. (323 characters)

Photo of xraided81
3.63/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

thanks to match1112 for sending this as an extra, if you are ever looking for anything from the westcoast I will send it your way!

a: pours a bright golden color with copper highlights. persistent 1/2 inch white head.

smell: candied dried pineaples come to mind, crystal, caramelized malts in aroma

t: malty sweetness, grassy hops, earth greens, caramel, toffe

m: full bodied beer, persistent carbonation on the palate

o: Malt forward double ipa. hops seemed to be fading away from this beer. i mainly drink westcoast ipas, so its been great to experience ipas from different parts of the country (604 characters)

Photo of Stokes_
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a deep golden color. 3+ finger head that hangs around for days, heavy lacing. Extremely fruity on the nose, I believe my cold is hindering me from picking up on the hops. Taste is amazing, fruit and hops aplenty. Wow. This is one of the better DIPA's I've tried. (268 characters)

Photo of dgugliuzza
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip

Hazy orange in appearance with about an inch of creamy white head. Slow moving bubbles crawl up the sides of the glass. Nice sticky lacing to boot.

A blast of piney and citrusy hops hits the nostrils. Pineapple, mango and piney tree resin combine to create a flawless hop bomb profile. Honey sweet malt rounds out the aroma and adds to the already spectacular balance.

Piney hops and sticky resin explode on the tongue followed by a smattering of citrusy hops. Tropical fruit flavors serve as the ultimate compliment to the pine resin bitterness. Finishes with touches of honey and sweet malt. Everything is layered perfectly and with precision.

Smooth creamy mouthfeel with prickly carbonation. Medium bodied. Alcohol is noticeable, but the brew goes down without burn. It's bold and should be admired one sip at a time.

The Oracle is the cream of the class when it comes to dipa's. The blend of different hops, honey sweet malt and creamy mouthfeel make this a must try for any hop head or beer lover. (1,049 characters)

Photo of MBrausen
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A. Pours a golden red hue, a nice 2.5 finger thick head, lots of carbonation, settled to a 2mm head with beautiful lacing

S. Smells of sweet citrus, grapefruit and floral

T. Tastes tart, a bit of sour fruit, sweet orange peel and a bitter finish

M. Medium body, medium-heavy carbonation with a very moist finish

O. A good DIPA. I had it once before on tap at a Bells Rare Beer night and remember it being different. I picked this up at a store that is far from the brewery and I wonder if they may be headed over the hill. It's more bitter than I remember, but it has been 6 months since I had it. It's still very good, just not the same beer I remember. I suggest if anyone can try this one fresh in one of the few states you can get it, Go For it! (753 characters)

Photo of tmcelvain
3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

S: Faint sweet hoppiness.
T: Crisp, bitter hop flavor with a bit of sweet cherry backgrouind. This is a great balance between hop bitterness and a creamy jam-like sweetness. Very little alcohol on the taste.
M: nicely carbonated, though the feel is where the high ABV shows through. Dry, bitter aftertaste is fairly strong. Not a bad feel on the mouth, but it definitely feels like a big DIPA.
D: well balanced flavors, and does not taste too strongly of alcohol, which could lead to a full sessioin of this strong ale if you have a palette for hop bitterness.

Overall Impression: I really like this beer - it seems to be a bigger version of Two-Hearted - the same cloudiness and hop-forward flavor. A well made beer infused with noteworthy Bell's character. (759 characters)

Photo of warbird07
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

bottles 8/12/11..poured into my New Belgium globe...

This DIPA pours a blood orange, clear, no floaties, nice two finger head after an aggressive pour, real nice lacing..this is a damn fine looking beer..

The smell..beautiful citrus floral aroma, grapefruit, slight pine, very balanced..a real pleasure just to sit here and smell this beer

The a is all about the hops, but this style does have a signifigant malt body..but it serves to support the beautiful hop profile..has a real subltle bitter finish that lingers..really leaves you wanting more..

mouthfeel is nice and balanced, not too heavy, perfect carbonation, really enjoyable..

This beer is one of my all time favorite double IPAs...a fantastic beer.. (742 characters)

The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
93 out of 100 based on 665 ratings.