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The Oracle | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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The OracleThe Oracle

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

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our take on the West Coast-style Double India Pale Ale, The Oracle places hop intensity first and foremost, making only the slightest concession to malt and balance.

The fireworks start with the aromatic punch of dry-hop sessions with hop varieties from the Pacific Northwest. Resinous, citrusy hop flavors mixed with aggressive bitterness from a massive kettle addition deliver on that aromatic promise.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-04-2009

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Reviews: 778 | Ratings: 2,678
Photo of metter98
4.01/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: The beer is quite hazy orange yellow in color. It poured with a finger high beige colored head that died down, leaving a latch of bubbles in the center, lots of lacing down the sides of the glass, and a thin film of bubbles on the surface in between.
S: Moderate to strong aromas of pine resin hops are present in the nose along with notes of citrusy hops.
T: The taste follows the smell, but has strong notes of underlying caramel malts. The pine resin lingers into the finish. There is a moderate amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. The pine resin hops also lend some prickliness to the mouthfeel.
O: This beer has a very good balance between the malts and hops and does a good job at masking most of the alcohol from the taste.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of Chestertonian82
3.08/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The primary note here is...alcohol. Its burn overwhelms almost every other flavor. A disappointing offering from an excellent brewery. (I'm not much of an oracle, but I prophesy that I won't be buying this again.)

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Photo of woemad
3.59/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from a box from Gopens44 that was mostly VA beers, but obviously with a couple MI beers as well. Bottled-on stamp is smudged-it was bottled on the 16th, this year, but what month is unclear. I've heard a lot of good things about this beer on NBS.

Poured into a Mad Bomber IPA glass, this was a chill-hazed, slightly sedimentary dark golden amber color, with a big, creamy white head that stuck around for a while and left all sorts of lace.

Piney and peppery nose to this. Also a big, caramelly malt backbone. I've read that Bell's calls this a Northwest style DIPA. While it smells good, I wouldn't characterize it as anything other than a Midwest style DIPA, with what I tend to think of as the bigger malt backbone that the latter entails.

Bitter, piney hop flavor up front. That aspect transitions to a big, malty backbone, without a whole lot of in between. This strikes me more as a Midwest/ East Coast IPA that's been shorn of more citrusy hop flavor. It's good, but rather one dimensional. The high level of alcohol does not come through in the taste at all.

Medium bodied, with an oily, resiny mouthfeel.

Not a bad beer, but a a bit limiting, flavor-wise.

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Photo of KomodoDragon
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Hazy amber brew. Little head.

Aroma bursts from this beer, right at initial pour. You can smell it at an arm length away. Now what is it? Lots of hops, Sugary caramel sweetness and alcohol. Some ripe melon.

Sweet scotchiness and breadiness in the flavor, followed by some citrus accompanying an alcohol burn. Very smooth and slick, increasingly so as it warms. . Almost flat, but such a heavy body that it embraces the cocktail nature.

Enjoyable big boy brew. Thanks Bells

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice pale yellow gold with a tall thick white head that leaves lace for days.

Smells bright with fresh citrus and tropical fruit notes, backed by whole grain bread notes and a floral bouquet.

Sweet bread notes balanced by bitter citrus lemon and grapefruit. It has some nice sweet stone fruit notes - peach. It finishes dry with slight oak notes.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The pour was amber in color, with hazy body, and a good sized, two finger thick head. The aroma was very potent, even at an arm's length. Upon bringing the glass to the nose, I could smell lots of grapefruit, pineapple, and melon. There was also some hay in addition to the tropical fruits. The first sip was was quite bit more bitter than I was expecting, proving flavors of grapefruit pith, bitter orange, and pine. There was a good deal of malt sweetness, and alcohol lurking behind the hop assault. This was a thick, chewy DIPA, providing a hefty mouthfeel. Definitely a DIPA made for sipping.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A deep metallic gold. Looks really thick good texture.

Nice malty backbone with a sweetness to the smell. Pine hop notes with a bit of orange. It's a good smell and mix.

The taste has the same notes but is much stronger. Slight fruity booze note. Grapefruit and light pine notes. But overall it's sweet.

Heavy body and a little but much less than you expect. Biting carbonation.

A pretty good and intense beer if that's your thing. Definitely worth a taste.

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Photo of beergoot
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy, yellow-orange body topped with a thick, sticky, soapy head; sheets of lacing adhering to the glass. Heavy pine sap aroma mixed with some citrus notes; mild bread crust. Bitter and pine-like flavor quickly followed up with a heavy grain flavor; hop bitterness lingers throughout; old citrus rinds. Heavy body; lots of residual sugars for body; prickly on the palate; finishes with an alcohol dryness.

Malty, bitter, with an almost chewy mouthfeel aptly describes this beer. One won't find any fruity sweetness in the taste or aroma here. In many ways, this comes across like an extremely hopped-up barleywine.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.56/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle dated 7/26/16. Pours hazy dark golden orange with a big rocky white head that retains well and leaves some lacing.

The aroma is sweet caramel malt and fruit with piney hops and some fusel alcohol.

The flavor is sweet caramel and toffee malt with some fruit that quickly gives way to a big harsh piney resiny hop bitterness with some noticeable alcohol. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, I was hoping for Hopslam but too much harsh alcohol and bitterness.

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Photo of spacecake9
3.56/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my Werk Force snifter.
A - Pours an opaque orange with a small white head.
S - Almost no aroma at all, maybe just a little malt.
T - First you get caramel malt sweetness and then the bitterness slams you. If you are looking for juicy, don't come here.
M - Soft and creamy, carbonation seems lower than average. Bitterness lingers.
O - I wanted to try this and was glad to find a single bottle. The bitterness really dominates. Not bad but I would not buy again.

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Photo of CHickman
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours cloudy dark gold color which makes it look almost copper colored, with a 2 finger foamy white head that was full of big bubbles that stuck to the glass and didn't budge for a few minutes, dissipating very slowly and leaving excellent foamy lacing coating the sides and rings as it went down.

Smells of pineapple, orange peel, tangerine, fresh citrus hops, tropical fruit, graham cracker, toasted grains, pepper, coriander and other peppery spices, piney hops/pine cone, fresh cut grass, lemon zest and sweetness like brown sugar or burnt French toast. Very hoppy with that dry hopped impression to me.

Tastes like it smells with strong citrus notes and a caramel/toffee sweetness up front that settles in with grapefruit, orange peel, tangerine, fresh wet citrus hops, tropical fruit, pineapple, mango, tobacco, and a bunch of spices such as white pepper, coriander, brown sugar and cinnamon. The next wave is all malt with buttery biscuit, Ritz crackers, graham cracker, toasted grains, wheat, fresh cut grass, piney hops and light earthy notes. Wonderfully complex with hints of booze peeking through, this was balanced and went down easier than it should have.

Mouthfeel is creamy and almost slick with a medium body, average to light carbonation, lots of bready, wheat notes and then a wave of hoppy sweetness which is slightly bitter, lightly spiced and on the dry side as the hoppy sweetness kicks in one last time before trailing off grainy with a lingering earthy flavor (like dry leaves for lack of a better description).

Overall a very enjoyable beer that is sturdy and almost macho in it's balance. The big malt base props this up and allows the grains to take center stage in some sips, allowing this hoppy DIPA to come off big and yet somewhat easy to drink.

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Photo of seedyone
3.97/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Meh! As a non-believer in the Church of the IPA, my skepticism remains intact. Looking to this cocoction as a redeemer due to the ABV (10.4%) I thought I'd found a kindered spirit. But alas, 'twas not to be.

Just another jacked up charlatan. Another "medicine show".

Sure, there's something there...but it all seems so forced. Thr term "beating a dead horse"...as poitically incorrect as it is in any context, is all I've got. THAT'S how desperate I feel.

What is this? Who think's it's grand? How am I?

I'm sure there are proponents & they have their due, but...as a big admirer of Bells's other edeavores, this escapes me.

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Photo of rand
2.8/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

12 oz bottle to tulip glass

Gorgeous copper-tan appearance, a big fluffy head never fully recedes and completely coats the glass with lacing.

Big, bold, sharp aromas. Notes of ripe citrus, orange rind and pine resin up against a giant malt backbone - sugary and grainy. All ushered by ample alcohol volatiles.

Aggressively hop-forward on the palate. Sharp, bitter, rough. After an onslaught of astringent hops, treacly malt syrup rolls in upon a vain attempt to balance. Lots of earthy tea-like residuals linger, along with hot booze. Finishes with a long close, and a coating of bitter residual between sips. The brew is a chore to drink.

A West Coast IPA this is not. Not even close. This is a hoppy barleywine, and not very good one at that. This confirms my suspicion of East Coast bias (or east of the West Coast bias) on this site - this beer has higher scores than a lot of local IPA's that blow this out of the water on every level.

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Photo of mchegash
3.87/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: A golden-orange appearance, fairly clear with a tad bit of haze. Lots of visible carbonation bubbles rising up the beer. A nice 2/3 finger of head which seems to stay around for a while.

S: Pine resin aromas, a bit of fruit.

T: Major pine and resin hops dominate. Hints of fruit, maybe of the tropical variety.

F: Lots of carbonation, fairly high level of bitterness. Fairly full bodied.

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Photo of Pray_For_Mojo
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: a nice hazy golden, with a light tan head of fine silky bubbles.

Aroma: sweet malt, light. Aroma indicates this will be a sweet(er) beer.

Flavor: sweet malt upfront, which leans toward the sweet side, but the hops just keep sticking around to balance it, and finish spicy and dry. The alcohol is well hidden . No alcohol flavor or heat.

Mouthfeel: medium, nearly spot on. You could easily put back more than one.

Overall: a tale of two beers: the initial flavor is a malt-heavy mess, but the 2nd act is a hop forward and spicy west coast IPA. I compared this beer side by side to Sixpoint Puff. Bells' is much better.

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Photo of NolaHopHead
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle. Pours hazy orange with finger white head, good retention and coating lace. Candy-like malt aroma. Big bold flavors colliding here, sweet sugary pale and caramel malts met by massive piney reding hops, with grassy floral notes lasting well beyond the sip. The bitterness definitely wins out, wow this is bitter, but I like it. Medium soft feel, dry finish. Big bitter sipper.

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Photo of remingtonsteele1987
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured half the 12oz into a snifter. Pretty, rich copper color and slightly opaque appearance with the smoothest, two finger, roasted almond color head. Had a sweet, doughy and roasted orange rind aroma with loads of burnt caramel and vanilla. It had a smooth and creamy texture with sweet orange, vanilla and spice flavors. Very well balanced sweet and bitter flavors that will linger nicely.

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Photo of mntlover
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a lightly murky hazy golden orange mixture sporting a nice fluffy two finger cream colored head. Loads of lace left down my glass, nice looking brew.

Aroma is nice sweet tropical fruits, pineapple, mango, light grapefruit rounded out by pine hints. All this hop goodness floating on a caramel malt base just underneath it all adding to the tropical sweet goodness.

Taste is not quite like the nose not as tropical nor as inviting. caramel malt base biting bitter grapefruit, a touch of orange sweetness. Finish is just lingering grapefruit citrus bitterness mixed with some big grassy notes and hints of pine resin. The more I drink the more I wish it was sweeter then bitter like the nose. I know its a I2PA but was expecting more fruitiness.

Mouthfeel is big medium fairly mellow carbonation with a burst at the end.

Overall wonderful nose might of messed with my taste as lots of I2PA's are just hop bombs. But sadly don't see me purchasing this one again unless its just to sniff it.

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Photo of OldManMetal
3.48/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

This is a great-looking beer: a giant, pebbly ivory-colored head looms atop a clear, effervescent, deep-gold beer, leaving excellent lacing in the form of thick, sticky bands and sheets; the only visual downside is how rapidly the head dissipates. The nose is delicious and enticing; medium in intensity, it leads with pineapple juice, backed by ruby grapefruit and sweet florals, hints of darker florals and modest alcohol overtones. Up front, the palate is grassy, medium-bitter pineapple and more subtle cotton-candy florals; mid-palate the pineapple gets juicy, the grassiness becomes more pronounced, a spicy floral flavor emerges, and we get a good view of the bready malt foundation. At the same time, a too-astringent mouthfeel develops, and a darkish bitter/sweet solvent character defiles the low end of the flavor as the booze does its damndest to run the whole train off the tracks. The finish is a warming whallop of bittersweet booze, followed by the onset of a modest, boozy pine bitterness that lasts for awhile. Mouthfeel is commensurate with the medium body, and is unpleasantly astringent; the texture is medium-creamy and slightly peppery from the somewhat restrained carbonation. Too hot to be enjoyable. (12 oz bottle, 42 days after pkg)

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Photo of Traveler19808
4.34/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours with a nice head, medium head, good lacing, slightly foggy gold to copper body. Strong but smooth hops on the nose with citrus and grape. Fantastic taste on the front smooth pronounced citrus, malty and hop bitter on the back.
Very enjoyable beer and impressively balanced for a big 10% beer, drinks better than most standard IPAs.

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Photo of Hyptochrons
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

golden orange appearance, dense white head. good retention and lacing. floral aromas as well as grass, pine, caramel. palate is orange, grapefruit, spicy floral note, caramel malts, pine. solid feel.

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Photo of Mongrel
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big rice and honey up front, and then some apple and grapey vinous notes give way to your more typical hoppy bitterness. Love the big honey-sweet center that's more than offset by a boatload of resinous hops. Finishes really impressively dry, with lingering bitterness and an enticing herbaciousness.

Smells like honey, grape, lavender and pine sap. The whole beer reminds me a lot of Hoptimum, maybe even a little more unique and nuanced. Stellar stuff.

P.S. - as I look through the other recent reviews, I realize this brew is for old-school hop heads who like aggressive, piney, resinous, tongue-coating BITTERNESS. Not so much for late-comers whose ideal IPA is a zero IBU fruit juice smoothie.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.86/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The Oracle pours a copper color with a huge lacing head. Very earthy and malty aroma. Taste is very big, lots of earthy hops, with a big sweeter malt backbone. Good body and feel. Overall, very big bold beer.

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Photo of 57md
3.79/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a light copper color with just under a finger of head. The nose and flavor have a solid balance of malt and hops. The flavor also carries a slight sweetness upfront and a bit too obtrusive alcohol presence on the finish.

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Photo of Dragginballs76
4.09/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours - Clear golden color with very nice white head great lacing.

Smell - Sweet malts, grapefruit and orange peel, little but of floral smell and some spice.

Taste - First off where in the world is the alcohol, you cannot taste it. Grapefruit, citrus, slightly sweet. little bit of caramel as well. Slight bitterness on the back end.

Feel - Medium body, great carbonation just a hint of warmth from the alcohol.

Overall - An excellent DIPA, I love the citrus flavor and the bitterness is well balanced.

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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.16 out of 5 based on 2,678 ratings.
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