The Oracle | Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store

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The OracleThe Oracle
BA SCORE
4.16/5
Exceptional
The OracleThe Oracle
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Michigan, United States
bellsbeer.com

Style: American 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.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#3,168
Reviews:
817
Ratings:
2,833
pDev:
10.58%
 
 
Wants:
453
Gots:
448
Trade:
7
 
User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 817 | Ratings: 2,833
Photo of GuyFawkes
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 7/20/15; drank 8/1/15 @ the Family Compound.

Murky dull orange appearance.

HUGE eggnog head (careful pouring!); a frothy curtain of lace.

Mango, orange citrus & honey notes in the nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Mango & orange citrus flavors up front; a bitter bite on the finish.

Fruity & sweet but too bitter at the end for me to truly love.

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Photo of Dr_Gonzo
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a tall clear pint glass. Has a mixture of a peach/amber color, quite cloudy/hazy yet deep. Steady carbonation and head retention. Good lacing.

Aroma is both sweet and hoppy. Strong citrus notes like grapefruit, oranges, and lemons. Sweet notes like honey, caramel, and overall strong malty backbone. Other notes are obvious pine, some faint pineapple, apricots, and alcohol. All around floral, minty, hoppy, and sweet.

Perfumey-like taste with dank bitter hops. Citrus and sweet notes are really upfront on the palette, whilst the bitter hops sort of surround them and makes the beer complete. Grapefruit peel and strong alcohol is heavily noticeable in the aftertaste. The other notes mentioned in the aroma take the backseat but are still present. Medium-bodied.

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Photo of rudiecantfail
4.19/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle poured into a tulip glass.

L---Hazy, burnt orange color. Thick, slightly off white head with very good retention and very good lacing.

S---Sweet & hoppy. Mostly citrus (orange/grapefruit/lemon), but some floral notes as well. Seems to promise a malt backbone in excess of what is advertised.

T---Definitely hop forward, as advertised. Strong citrus, as in the nose. A bit boozy, but with 10% ABV, no surprise. More malt & balance than advertised, which I find to be a good thing, not a problem. I know I'm imagining things, but I swear there's some chocolate in there at the finish.

F---A little astringent from the booziness/ABV. Very well carbonated. Very full mouthfeel. It definitely feels like something to take seriously.

O---This is a damn good beer. Full bodied and complexly flavored. I'll keep an eye out for this one in the future.

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Photo of Marco188
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz single purchased bottle poured into a Mission Brewing IPA glass. Peach to Amber color with good head and great lace. You can smell the hops right away with hints of citrus as well. Taste is a mixture of bitter, peppery, malty, with a hit of grapefruit. Mouthfeel is smooth with medium to high carbonation for a DIPA. The high ABV gives a warm feel between an ordinary IPA and a barrel aged, yet maintains a good dryness and piney aftertaste. Overall this is a good IPA and well worth the price. Recommend trying it to whoever is on the fence.

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Photo of beersampler6
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not bad at all but just a tad too bitter for me, and I expected a little more juiciness to the hops. Pours a great dark golden-yellow color with abundant white foamy head and some nice spotty lingering lacing. Smells faintly of herbal hops, surprisingly not much else. Tastes strongly of some bitter grapefruit zest and a little lemon and pineapple. There’s also some faint herbal hops along with caramel, vanilla and a much weaker malt backbone. Smooth thin mouthfeel and great carbonation. Just wish it were more balanced and juicier, and that there wasn’t so much warming alcohol with the high ABV.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pores a hazy Peach with a very thin, white head. Leaves wonderful lacing throughout. Not much carbonation.
A wonderful smell of dankness, peach Orange grapefruit and other citrus. Also caramel malt, Oak. slight Cherry licorice, and Carmel malt.
Great hop bite up front with candied citrus fruit. Carmel malt and a pine finish with much resin.
Full bodies DIPA.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.48/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

(12 oz bottle, PKG 07/12/2018; purchased warm on singles shelf... left out of fridge for 55 min before pouring into a snifter)

L: peach-amber colored liquid, incredibly cloudy... tall, two-finger head on pour; cottony-plush, slow to recede... waited momentarily and poured in remaining 1-2 oz... laces like a true champion, but point off for this haze nonsense

S: candied lemon/lime, hint of spicy grapefruit, hint of spearmint... perfumy; berry-brandy booze... hint of pine peaking over the horizon in the back... strong intensity overall; aromas shot out upon crown removal... still loud volume after 3 months

T: dense, citrus-nectar-juicy up front; intensely citrus-pith and green tea tannic bitterness swelling up in the finish, long lasting through the aftertaste - almost has a fresh wormwood, menthol quality and intensity... while the bitterness holds firm, the malts and subtle decay of hops emerge forward and come into focus and a mild peppery note latches to the back of the palate, but beyond that point rather dry

F: ultra-smooth, blanket-soft, resinous wrap around what's at its core a relatively light body... the bitterness stings so good, snapping down on the tongue like a gator's bite... f'n spiked, resin-soaked malt nectar, very nice

O: purchased single bottle, impulse buy; seemingly at the end of its peak flavors?... is it supposed to be this cloudy?... loved its fantastically-aggressive bitterness and otherwise sedate, resinous goodness... very curious now about how a fresh bottle comes across, but either way this is right up my alley as far as IPAs go - wish I would've jumped on it sooner; still not used to Bell's being available in NJ...

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Photo of VoodooBear
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Presentation: Draft, served in a snifter.

Appearance: It develops a one finger head that goes down into a foam layer that stays around until the end. It leaves some great lacing that covers the entire glass. Clear, Amber gold color.

Smell: Really hoppy with strong citrus peel and floral, perfume-like aromas up front with some malty notes in the background.

Taste: Very hop forward, which shows in the bitterness and citrus character. There are orange, tangerine and grapefruit notes with a boozy blanket over it all.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with medium-high carbonation. It goes down smooth.

Overall: It doesn't have your run-of-the-mill hoppy character. It's strong but subtle at the same time and the aromas and flavors are very pleasant. Even thought it's quite bitter and high in ABV, the fruit character keeps it drinkable.

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Photo of haines710
3.67/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I was hoping for something different. This beer is super bitter and dry and malty. I didn’t notice much citrus and found the after taste to be like cough syrup.

I picked up a single bottle at the supermarket and had high hopes in trying it. Poured into a pint glass from the bottle. Nice head and great lacing. Taste is disappointing. Very malty on initial taste and then finishes very dry and bitter. I will pass on this. Have had much better DIPAs.

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Photo of SaltofOH
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle dated 7/12/18. Michigan stout pint.

A: pours a hazy orange with1/4 finger sandy head, streaming carb. Retains that thin head all the way down, but little lacing to speak of.

S: fresh out of the fridge and the hops are screaming out of the glass: bright sweet citrus and pine with a pineapple or, date I say it, coconut, edge. As it warms develops floral, lavender, herbal, sweet tones. Smell is reminiscent of some highland single malt scotches.

T: sweet, thick, malty arrival. Bitter, tropical hop mid-palate. Again, something coconutty. Bold pine bitterness at the end. Lingering medicinal finish.

M:heftier side of mid weight, but high carbonation makes it feel light, and despite lingering medicinal hop bite, it is remarkably clean.

O: It’s a DIPA, all right. I know I like Bodhi better, but it is totally different. This is like Resin or LEM, and I think I like those better. This is fruitier (thank you Bell’s yeast) but less sweet. That coconut taste is really unique and interesting.

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Photo of Burgy
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a pint glass; half-inch head. Has a hazy orange color.

I didn't love this beer, which is disappointing because I'm a big fan of Bell's, and DIPAs are right in my wheelhouse. The bottle says "intensely hopped" but it's more malty than anything. Not bad if that's how you like your IPAs, but it's not to my liking. Good mouthfeel, but otherwise unremarkable. Bell's does many things well, but I don't think I'll have this one again.

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Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12oz bottle into glass. Bottling date marked on label is '07/12/2018'.
Cloudy, deep gold colored body. One finger white head works back to interrupted cap and thin ring. Lines of lacing are left behind.
Bitter hop heavy aroma with malts joining in.
Taste is hop bitterness of the citrus and floral variety, joined by the sweeter malts. Since this a double IPA, the hops kind of dominate. Bitter at the end, and into the after taste.
Medium mouth feel, with good carbonation. Rather strong bitter hops at the end.
Good example of a double IPA that exhibits its strong bitter hops, in deference to the sweeter malts. Like Pow! in the glass.

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Photo of stoumi
4.29/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Oracles pours a dark, rustic hazy orange color, with a dense, off-white ½ finger head that coats the glass with some well formed lacing. The aroma is light citrus an earthy and herbal. floral characteristic on the nose, but a deep, bitter resin from the hops and a hint of malt sweetness. The taste is in your face bitterness, as a West Coast double should be! There is an ever present malt characteristic that helps to balance out the bitterness, but it it can be felt all the way through. For a West Coast guy, I love it! Then again, there are some BIG IPAs that have come out of the state.

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Photo of ONUMello
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle dated 7/12/18 poured into a tulip
A: Hazy orange with a 1/2-finger head
S: Dank, herbal, lemongrass, earthy
T: Dry, very bitter, herbs/earth
M: Full-bodied, dries the palate, again very bitter. No alcohol shows
O: Packed with hops, not juicy but dry can be very good too

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Photo of mempath
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

never knew about this one but picked up a take home from pinocchio's beer garden in media, pa after a sloggy mountain bike ride...

waited a day to try it and was surprised to see--after i had poured it into a samuel smith's pint--that it had retained a massive pancake batter head for a looooong time. even as i finish the last couple of ounces, a thickish head floats on top...the color is bright deep apricot

the nose is herbaceous citrus schizoid biscuity malt psychoid mellow. damn...

the taste is bitter bitter ... a hop wall that only provides goretex size permeable apertures to allow any sense of maltiness or sweetness to eek thru...the maltiness manages to squeeze thru, but the sweetness has to await the warming of the vessel and brew. it does arrive if you let this sit. i prefer this a little more to the cold bitter side rather than the warmer sweeter.

the mouthfeel is chewy enough but for the complexity above and the abv that it is, i expected chewier, thicker...

highly recommended. i love a DIPA that goes all out bitter and/or tropical and keeps the deep sweet in reserve...

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Photo of Beer4Baltimore
3.92/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bitter is not always better. I love a piney resinous brew but this one is lacking any definitive flavor besides bitter. Looks good, smells typical, tastes just plain bitter. The 10% abv comes out after some warming and the flavor opens up a little to give a touch of fruit and more bitterness. If you want high IBU and high ABV then this is your beer, but it comes at with a $4 per 12 ounce price.

Don't get me wrong here, it's ok but just too much money for a moderately flavored hop bomb.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.69/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The Oracle has a thin-to-medium, off-white head, a somewhat opaque, gold-orange appearance, with lazy, ascending bubbles and not much glass lacing. Aroma is not so strong, but one can detect rather bold pale malt and hop resin. The flavor is of a burst of intense hop bitterness and white bread crust. Mouthfeel is high medium, and The Oracle finishes drying and bitter.

RJT

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Photo of Claude-Irishman
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks mostly translucent with a golden/apricot hue. White foamy head,( not the creamy type) more sudsy. Smell of grapefruit rind is pronounced, possibly raisin. Taste is a full on hop blast with a slight malt finish,slight rubbing alcohol aroma left in the palate. The ABV is not well hidden in this big boy. The alcohol taste on a scale of 1-10 for beer, this is a 10. Somewhat distracting from the complexity of the beer. Again, I like straight bourbon but the ethyl taste sort of impairs this beer. Overall not well rounded. I have a Six Point beer in the fridge that clocks in at 10.5% (even stronger than this) yet you don't get the alcohol burn. Seems a bit amateur. Revision: I believe the first beer was a bit too warm. A nice cold one muted the heavy ethyl presence. Will adjust.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.18/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

$ 16.00 (Including tax)/six-pack of 12 oz bottles ($ 0.222/oz) from Franklin Beer, Franklin, PA. Reviewed 8/10/18.
Bottles “PKG 07/12/2018” on back label, stored on shelf in store. Served at 42 degrees in a hand washed and dried Jester King snifter. The pkg date is also stamped on the shoulder in black ink.
Appearance – 4.25.
Body – Dark yellow, translucent, effervescent.
Head – Large (Maximum 5.6 cm, aggressive center pour), off-white, high density, very good retention, slooowly diminishing to a five to ten mm ring fed in spots by the effervescence, and a large island of dense foam. As the head retracts, much torn curtain lacing is present.
Lacing – Excellent. As the level drops, closely spaced tight bands of tiny bubbles remain, connected by multiple thin columns and archipelagoes of even tinier bubbles.
First pour – Yellow, slight haze.
Aroma – 3 – None I can detect.
Flavor – 3 - Begins slightly bitter with little discernable flavor, just a kind of chalky coating on the soft palate. No alcohol, no diacetyl, no dimethylsulfide.
Palate – 3.5 - Medium, about half-way between watery and creamy, soft carbonation.
Impression and interpretation – 3.25 – A very attractive DIPA that fails in both aroma and flavor. Yes, it’s bitter but not aggressively so, no more than your average pale ale. The flavor is that of very weak malt with little to no hop flavor. Perhaps the well-hidden 10% ABV is its claim to be a DIPA. Another positive note: part of the rear label design is “Shelf life three months”, a useful bit of information.

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Photo of Schimms
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a large snifter yielding 1/2" white head.

L: Thick orange with thin white head that dissapates quickly.

S: Hop punch (!) to the nose; tiny bready malt.

T: Super strong clean hop - a very well done DIPA. Wonderful IPA bitter. Juicy all the way to the back of my tongue. Might be my new favorite.

F: Dry - stripping my tongue of taste buds and making my mouth water at the same time.

O: A great surprise! Two Hearted is a favorite, so I'm very very happy with this one! There is something about Bell's making such awesome, surprising beers.

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Photo of MacMalt
4.19/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 7/12/2018 and poured into Bell's snulip glass. It pours a cloudy, honey-amber color with almost a finger of long-lasting, frothy, milk-white head and thick lacing. It has a mostly malty nose with some mildly floral hops. As the glass warms a little I'm smelling ripe cantaloupe and lemon peel. The taste opens with primarily sweet malt, caramel, and some mild citrus but the sweetness is quickly overwhelmed by sharp pine and bitter, resinous Pacific Northwest hops (I wish they were better identified) that bite hard and leave a decidedly bitter aftertaste. This is one bitter brew, in a really good way! It features a full, rich mouth feel with moderate carbonation, and you can feel the 10% ABV. Overall, there's nothing subtle about The Oracle. It's an excellent West Coast style DIPA which lets the malt sweetness and hoppy bitterness battle it out for supremacy. If you like a "big" DIPA without a lot fruit, then you should really enjoy this beer.

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Photo of Mindcrime1000
3.94/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a single serve bottle into a tulip

Pours a murky copper-gold with an excellent three-finger head and fine lacing throughout. And bubbles bubbles bubbles in the meantime. A nice-looking DIPA.

The nose is very hop forward, and in a resin-y way, rather than citrus. The malts instead come through in a tropical way, with hints of mango and pineapple--but these notes are clearly subsidiary to the hops.

There is an initial hint of stiff malt backbone on the tongue, but as the brew passes the tip of the tongue to the rest of the palate, the hops show up with vengeance. Not out of balance, per se, but definitely hop forward, and well done at that. Again, primarily a resin as opposed to a floral approach on that note. Little if any booze is detected initially, but it does creep up as the brew warms.

The mouthfeel is excellent for the ABV. Very crisp and dry.

Overall, I tried to rate this one fairly, though my numbers may be a shade low because this brew strays dangerously close to "trying to win an IBU prize" territory. Still, a pretty darn good brew.

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Photo of IronLover
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Lightly weathered copper orange in color with a light persistent haze. Poured with a moderate, creamy, off-white foam that is constantly fed by tight bubbles of carbonation that are born from the bottom of the glass. Excellent foam retention. Mellow earthy, herbal and light spicy hop aromas with solid malt and light bready aromas. Medium boded with medium light carbonation. Creamy smooth mouth filling feel through the middle followed by pleasant, undeniable e warmth. Herbal and earthy hop aromas meld with malt flavors up front. Medium high piney hop bitterness through the middle that is tempered by solid maltiness to the end. Boozy warmth intensifies from the middle to the end but stops short of overwhelming the hop and malt characters. Finished semi-dryly with malty and herbal hop notes followed by lingering pine hop bitterness. Superbly balance of intense earthy hops, malty and boozy strength. The bitterness is most intense at the finish. And although the piney, boozy, resinous flavors and bitterness linger the character is mellow and tasty. Fantastic.

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Photo of q33jeff
3.08/5  rDev -26%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

**
07/27/2018

Bottle (7/6/18) to snifter; shared with DC.

LOOK: clear yellow, small off-white head. OK retention.
AROMA: lots of pine/wood. Not much else penetrates those smells which are pretty strong.
TASTE: More sappy pine flavors. Too bitter for my taste. Needs something soft or sweet to smooth it out.
FEEL: Medium body, average carbonation. Just a touch of stickiness, but mostly smooth drinking.

Not really a fan. Well crafted ale, but flavors and aromas are just a bit simple.

**

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Photo of jkblr
4.11/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottled 7/6/18 (15 days ago with a 3 month shelf life per label) poured into a snifter at fridge temp 10% ABV. The beer pours bright golden to amber in color with off white, sticky and persistent head. Lots of lacing. The aroma is sweet caramel, pine sap and resin. The taste is big bitter piney & resiny citrus up front that fades to just mildly bitter and mostly dry. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, adequately carbonated and balanced. Very little booze for the ABV. Overall, very good. This is OG stuff and it's right in my wheelhouse with the pine and citrus. The caramel is not big enough to be cloying, but carries the hops. Well done.

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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 4.16 out of 5 with 2,833 ratings