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

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IPA - Imperial
Ranked #372
Ranked #2,162
4.18 | pDev: 10.53%
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Michigan, United States
Notes: 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.
Reviews: 817 | Ratings: 2,838 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Tunic:
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Tunic from Washington

4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Oct 06, 2015
More User Reviews:
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Cannibalgasm from Minnesota

4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

What a perfect brew for my one hundredth review.

Poured from a 12oz. bottle.

A: Pours a hazy deep golden orange with two fingers of frothy off-white head. Retention is borderline insane as it lingers for quite awhile. Lacing is extravagant and insanely plentiful. Incredibly beautiful and inviting, it has one of the most beautiful pours I've seen.

S: Aromas of citrus, sweet malts, and pine/grass like hops initially. Then you get some honey, orange peel, grapefruit, caramel, and peach. Also has a slight boozy quality.

T: Sweet malts, caramel, honey, and pine up front. In the middle you find some citrus, most notably orange, lemon, and grapefruit. Finishes grassy, bitter, and slightly boozy. Leaves a resiny pine like aftertaste. Very intense onslaught of flavors, this beer is phenomenal but not for the faint of heart (and/or palate).

M: Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Has high levels of pleasant astringency. Smooth and bitterly crisp, finishes dry and bitter with a noticeable alcohol warmth. Definitely a sipper but still very pleasant to drink.

O: Honestly Bell's has been leaving me at a loss for words lately. Most of the Planet Series absolutely blew my f***ing mind... the rest left favorable impressions. Hopslam, Two Hearted, Third Coast Old Ale, and Expedtion Stout all hold a special place in my heart. And Black Note Stout is easily one of my top ten brews. I really enjoyed this brew last year (my first time trying it) but I feel that it's true greatness was somehow lost to me... until now. This brew is a world class example of true brewing prowess. I give Bell's yet another giant metaphorical tip of the f***ing hat. This is a true whale that as far as I can tell doesn't get even close to the credit it deserves. I truly wish I could do a (fresh) side by side of this and Hopslam because honestly I don't know which is better... and on a random note Mars might have been better then both. Sorry for the rant everyone but this brews greatness has turned my mind to pudding. Overall this is a must try for any DIPA fan, in the endless ocean of brews I've been trying lately this one stands out as a true beacon of hope.

Aug 08, 2015
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macrosmatic from Florida

3.39/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Thanks to Cyclone8 for this one! Reviewed from notes. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into an Upland pint glass.

A: Pours quite hazy, bronze-ish gold, with a half-finger of white head and an average amount of small bubble visible carbonation.

S: Pine, caramel and biscuit malt sweetness, and bitter citrus. Not a huge aroma for a DIPA.

T: Caramel malts, a lot of bitterness, some pine and the bitterest of citrus rind hops, and quite a bit of boozy alcohol. As it warms, the booze and bitterness increases up front, then fades into some malt with caramel sweetness.

M: Medium body with quite a bit of carbonation sensation. The alcohol it quite noticeable, but nothing like DFH 120 Minutes.

O: This embodies a lot of the characteristics I don't like in a DIPA. Big alcohol flavor, caramel, and bitterness without the underlying hop flavors to keep me interested. While not a drain-pour, this isn't anything that I'll go back to.

Oct 18, 2013
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KFBR392 from Illinois

3.52/5  rDev -15.8%

Appearance: pours with a glowing golden orange color. Finger worth of frothy white head. Active carbonation is a touch above average for the style but very fitting. Sticky rings of lacing left behind with each drink.

Smell: pine and oily hops jump out right away. Heavy saturated citrus with notes of grapefruit, tangerines, and ripe oranges. A potent malt backbone packs a semi-sweet punch of caramel and sour dough bread. Bitter hops give a welcome bite on the back end. Resinous pine and hop oils carry throughout and are felt on the finish.

Taste: Sweet malts and touches of booze immediately warm the palate. Potent saturated citrus quickly follows on the front. Joining force and evening out the potent hops is malts notes of bread, toffee, and molasses. Bright oily hops and some herbal pine notes bright this beer full circle.

Mouthfeel: Lots of hop oils. Bitterness and sweet malts play well off one another.

Overall: Lots of similar characteristics to Hopslam. Tasty but nothing I would really go out of my way for. So many DIPAs these days, this one is another face in the crowd.

Sep 01, 2014
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RonaldTheriot from Louisiana

4.69/5  rDev +12.2%
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.


Aug 21, 2018
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

neat double ipa, but i think its less distinct and unique than some of their others, and certainly less so than the best in the game, although its hard to fault this because its awesome. i like that it has a little lighter body than many, and that despite it, the booze isnt exposed. i also like how dramatic the hops are in the aroma, no grain weighing on them at all. its a well designed beer for that reason, but the taste to me, as fresh and tasty as it is, is nothing overly unique. its like a lot of good ones, but lacks the touch that sets the best ones apart. its the most like a west coast style of the several that they do i think, but its not as resinous. the hops are clean and only middle of the spectrum bitter. i love that. carbonation is high enough to cut through too, which helps it stay lighter. even as it warms it stays relatively easy. i think the packaging is some of the coolest out there too, and the beer is lovely, but it just doesnt stand out for me all that much from the top tier of big ipa. bells has no misses though, thats a fact.

Oct 20, 2014
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humuloner22 from North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

This is a very nice offering from Bell's. Its not really like Hopslam, but it is very similar in respect to Two Hearted. I would say this is more like TH in that its malty, balanced, not overly sweet, but more boozy. Which you would expect from the abv.

Pours: Dark amber with some head in the aggressive pour, but it settles to virtually no lacing. Which based upon the abv and style is expected.

Aroma: Hoppy, boozy, some sweet maltiness. This is not a beer that is outstanding from the rest, but it is very solid. It might be confused with being too pedestrian, but I find it so well balanced that is why people would think in this regard.

Taste: Sweetness, piney, tropical and floral hops dominate ,but you get a good malt balance going on. Its very similar to Mars, I imagine they follow a similar recipe. My only complaint is that it does have a fair amount of alcohol in the taste. Not that this is a bad thing but its not one you can drink more than two of in a night.

Overall: I don't think this is a true west coast style DIPA, but I do think it is somewhat true to the style with a mid-west interpretation. Some have said its pretty mundane, but I think that is just people who have had too many Hop bombs this year. I felt this one was well balanced and enjoyable.

Sep 29, 2014
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It's about time that we have a non-West Double IPA that emphasizes extreme bitterness and abandoning the heavily caramelized grains.

The Oracle starts with a medium copper/medium amber color with a subtle russet hue. A rich head formation of eggshell white foam reduces to a sticky sheet and laces in rings as the beer fades away. A very gentlemanly appearance and has all the hallmarks of great IPA's.

Resiny hops lead the aromatic way with pine, fresh cut grasses, and sharp citrus notes. With all the attention on the hop invasion, the crisp graham cracker malts show timidly up front and is everso fleeting from it's initial impression on- just the way a hop-forward beer should. No esters, no harsh alcohols.

Again in flavor, the malts give a suble caramel base, but that is soon swallowed by intense hop flavor and bitterness- this beer is simply not about the malts. Sharp pine, grassy, and resiny flavors are bold, bright, and command attention at all points in the beer's flavor. Once the malt/hop heirarchy is established in flavor, the bitterness kicks in even more and provides the dry crisp and bitter finish that is rarely found even in the greatest IPA's.

Moderately full and creamy early but those textures are quickly thrown to the wind in favor of a quick transition to dry, hoppy, and crispness. Bitter and resiny til the long, lingering end.

A very refreshing Double IPA because it's rare that these big hoppy beers truely exhibit the intense bitterness and dry character throughout that we see here. It's definately a swift kick to the taste buds.

Thanks a ton Cheezdawg!

May 30, 2010
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Schimms from Minnesota

5/5  rDev +19.6%
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.

Aug 08, 2018
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Smakawhat from Maryland

4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured on tap at Churchkey DC into a tumbler. Listed as dry hopped with Amarillo and Pacific Jade.

A light copper/red amber body, almost bronze in appearance with a slight creamy head. Served small head but keeps a collar while drinking.

Nose is small, kind of pine like but mild also with a strange noticeable thick sense of alcohol haze.

Taste brings a thick pine and resin, with a very hot finish. Finish aftertaste ... is extremely dry, with a hop bitter grapefruit oil sense, and a small mild brown sugar. Texture is a good mix of mild carbonation and brittle dry bitterness.

Overall impressive, just wish the nose was a little bolder. Alcohol seems very noticeable as well overpowering some of the beers better qualities.

Aug 23, 2011
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Claude-Irishman from New Jersey

3.85/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

Aug 20, 2018
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ffejherb from Pennsylvania

4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle into tulip on 11/12/09. Thanks to corby112 for the bottle!

A - Poured a slightly hazy deep golden, orange-tinged amber with sparse amount of carbonation and almost a finger's worth of frothy off-white head that settled into a thin, creamy patch and deposited thick, mesh-like lacing all around the glass.

S - Pungent fume of pine needles, grapefruit, citrus rind, boozy alcohol notes and burnt caramel malt. Aroma is quite strong and fragrant, brimming with hops and beefiness.

T - Aggressive hop assault right off the bath with plenty of sticky sweet pine, followed by a fairly pronounced alcohol presence and decent backing of sweet caramel malts and burnt sugars. Juicy citrus character

M - Thick and syrupy texture, definitely a beefy medium-bodied DIPA for sure, with a pronounced alcohol warmth on the palate. Finish is slightly dry with a long-lasting, lingering bitterness on the back of the tongue.

D - The Oracle is without a doubt Hopslam's piney counterpart. While there is a good deal of citrus character (especially in the finish), piney hops abound in this fine DIPA. Another great hoppy creation from Bell's.

Nov 12, 2009
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sparx1100 from Minnesota

3.64/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Aug 04, 2018
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liamt07 from Canada (ON)

3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Apr 16, 2014
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FullObs from Illinois

4/5  rDev -4.3%

Jan 10, 2012
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ADTaber from South Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Mar 05, 2013
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jeremiahoden from Indiana

4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Oct 13, 2014
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malfunxion from New York

4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Aug 26, 2014
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dsimmons from California

4.75/5  rDev +13.6%

Nov 11, 2013
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AGB from District of Columbia

4.21/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sep 19, 2015
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Dragginballs76 from South Carolina

4.09/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

Aug 29, 2016
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Alkey from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -4.3%

Aug 26, 2013
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sideshowe from Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +19.6%

Nov 17, 2011
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Daniellobo from District of Columbia

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

Aug 09, 2015
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Dunkle from Michigan

4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Golden-orange with an inch of off-white head, which unfortunately dissipated relatively quickly. Nice lacing. A profound thick white half-circle is left on the glass (I doubt water by itself will remove it).

S: Hops in the nose, but not as strong as most IIPAs. The malts do not slip through the cracks here. It actually smells quite sweet.

T: Wow, the head is creamy and delicious. The next thing I taste is the hops. There is some citrus fruit hiding in there as well (maybe tangerine or orange?). Pine hops carry through to the aftertaste as well as the alcohol.

M: Extraordinarily smooth for the style. Full-bodied yet creamy. Impressive!

D: The 10% ABV is definitely noticeable. I may have to stop after one, although two wouldn't be far-fetched.

It's hard not to compare two IIPAs made by the same brewer. This is not nearly as good as the gem that is HopSlam, but it does stand out as one of the better IIPAs that I've had. Distinct taste and well made.

Sep 11, 2010
The Oracle from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 2838 ratings