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: 786 | Ratings: 2,710
Photo of cdrogers
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from bottle to Guinness glass.

A: Nice amber color with a one inch off-white head.

S: Lots of citrus, mainly orange and some lemon, and also very floral. Lots going on in this one.

T: For an I-IPA it wasn't as overwhelming as I expected. I'm more of trappist guy and this one I was afraid of. I heard it was very rare and good, but I wasn't sure, it lived up to the hype. Lots of hops, but with some lemon again and the vibrate earthiness.

M: Dances around and then bam the hops come out.

D: I could drink a few of these for sure. Lots of hops but with the citrus it is all good. Exceptional I-IPA. Everyone must try this one.

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Photo of warbird07
5/5  rDev +20.2%
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..

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

Purchased a very fresh case of Oracle from Bell's Brewery on 8/14/11, reviewing on 8/15/11, poured from a 12oz bottle into a 12oz beer glass...been waiting for this all year long!

Appearance - Pours a quick finger of off white-eggshell head, color is a glowing lite copper orange, slightest bit of haze, nearly clear. Keeps a solid cap for the session. Smooth laced stripes coat the glass from top to bottom at the end of the session.

Smell - Big citrusy hops, grapefruit juice and pineapple, touch of pine in the back, little bit of hard candy sweetness, no alcohol in the nose.

Taste - OMG!!! This could not be a fresher Oracle, and the taste is Incredible, SO GOOD! Semi-sweet yellow grapefruit, under-ripe pineapple, tangering peel and ruby red grapefruit...all of this rides along a slightly sweet malty backbone...all the while there are floral hops. After ths sip a nice bitterness of grapefruit rind and pine assert themselves long into the finish, but there are still pockets of citrus and candied semi-sweetness throughout the mouth...this is not like a salvo of punches at all, this is a perfectly orchestrated symphony! There is no evidence of the 10% ABV, never have I seen (not seen?) an ABV like this hidden so well...there is a slight warmth that develops a little over halfway thru the session.

Mouthfeel - Medium mouthfeel, so smooth, carb is light and tingly, with all of the different hoppy citrus notes there is some juicyness here, yet there is some bitter dryness in the finish - just enough to beg the next sip - perfection.

Overall - I LOVE this beer, my only complaint is that this is a seasonal release. Find it, trade for it, go to Bell's in Kalamazoo and get some if you must - this to me is the best tasting DIPA I've had so far. Two thumbs up, way up!

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Photo of hippityhophead24
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Copper amber color with one finger head that goes away quickly. Very nice lacing in the glass.

Smell: Nice malt notes. Along with citrus hops. Slight pine and candied notes. Reminds me of Hopslam minus some sweetness.

Taste: Upfront pineapple and grapefruit. Finish is hot with sweet caramel malts and slight bitter hops. Nice lingering after taste.

Mouth feel: Nice carbonation. Coats the mouth. Not too thick.

Overall: Great DIPA. I think that I like this more than the hopslam…not sure though. I think I am going to have to do a side by side tasting to get to the bottom of it!

Glassware: 12oz bottle into snifter

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Photo of LiquidBread219
5/5  rDev +20.2%
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 NewGlarusFan
5/5  rDev +20.2%

Poured into a New Glarus Pilsner glass.

Two finger head, clear and a clover honey color. The beer is very juicy and creamy. Hop character is mild, citrusy, orange candies, honey, malt, toasted breads. Awesome beer grab one, it's similar to FFF Apocalypse Cow. It's like a DIPA ice cream that's melted in your glass.

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Photo of Budinetz
4.95/5  rDev +19%

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass. Bottled on 8/8/14 stamped on the label.

Pours a light amber color with a light white head. Beautiful lacing is visible all around the glass. Smells of citrusy hops and a nice malty backbone. Tastes a bit sweet on the tongue from the nice malt profile and finishes with a bitter, dry, sticky, hoppy finish. Beautifully balanced DIPA! Very drinkable despite the 10% abv. This one will sneak up on you because it drinks like a 6.5% IPA. Very hard to find but if you do, be sure to share!


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Photo of Mavajo
4.92/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to Buckeyenation for throwing this in as an extra - generous guy.

Pours an amber orange color with a huge, frothy white head. Beautiful sticky lacing - although the lacing continued throughout the experience, the upper part of my glass was especially plastered. Wonderful. My only knock on the appearance would be the haze in the body - a little more clarity would have knocked this up to a perfect score.

Nose is a generous hop punch; citrus and fruity, with notes of pine/grass. The taste follows suit with liberal amounts of hops and bitterness. Where HopSlam is hoppy but very sweet, The Oracle switches it around - the hops and bitterness are jacked up, while the sweetness takes more of a backseat. Either way, both beers make for an absolutely excellent taste. Hot damn does Bell's know how to make a tasty brew. The alcohol is completely hidden.

The mouthfeel is very good. Appropriate carbonation, and fairly smooth - medium bodied. I would have liked it if the body were a bit fuller or creamier, but I'm undoubtedly picking nits at this point.

Another phenomenal DIPA from Bell's. I must confess, this beer wasn't even on my radar - huge thanks to Buckeyenation for solving that problem! Very glad I had the opportunity to try this. I'm amazed at how well this had held up with age - I can only imagine what it must have been liked fresh.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.92/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle poured into a Unibroue tulip. 9306 Batch number. (Packaged Aug. 28th '09). No info. Part four in the "Birthday Beer Extravaganza"

Thanks a TON to Sweemzander for two bottles of this glorious beer!

A - The color is an impressive clear golden honey yellow color with a moderate two-finger, slightly off-white head. I noticed right away I could see right through the bottle. The head had moderate retention and left some good, sticky lacing to the sides of the glass. A thick ring hung around to make it look taller than it was. That was followed by thick lacing down the glass as it started filling me with joy as it entered mah belleh!

S - The nose is immediately well-balanced and not overpowering as I expected. Tons of floral hops with a tiny bit of grapefruit and pine resin. A good lemony citrus splash follows with an impressive fruit medley; a big pineapple-mango juicy nose. The malts do a great job of staying in the back as support while providing a nice, low-level sweetness. One of the most perfect DIPAs I've had the pleasure of smelling.

T - Holy Shit. This, with in sips, could be one of my favorite DIPAs, if not beers, ever. The hops overpower the malts but in all the right ways. The hops give off a lot of fruitiness. Like the aroma, it's got pineapple, mango, a drop of lemon, and a kiss of grapefruit bitterness. There is also a pine resin that pops in and lingers through the finish with a dry, almost astringency to it. The malts let the hops do all the work being there only as moral support. Much less balances than the aroma, but rightfully so. The pale malts provide a low sweet background with a slight dab of honey on a thinly sliced wafer of toast.

M - Smooth and creamy with a great carbonation feel that just blends in, it's a superb feeling beer that lacks only in being a bit too dry and resiny on the finish. Great level of bitterness and sweetness that play well together. A very nicely balanced body that teet-or-totters between medium and full bodied. Also very crisp and refreshing.

D - Wow. I think this has to be my favorite DIPA to date. Nothing has rocked my socks this hard or inspired such a long review out of me since my first encounter with the Pumking. It's an absolutely fantastic beer that's brewed to near perfection. The fruit bouquet is absolutely delicious and blends so well with the hop and malt flavors. Almost in the same way the simple yet ornate label can enjoyed in layers. The alcohol isn't even noticeable in this beer at all, not even in small traces.

I can't say enough thanks to my friend Sweem for hooking me up with two bottles of this outrageously good beer!

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.92/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Talk about intense, wow. I was thrilled to death to be able to land a bottle of this. Could be my favorite DIPA of all time after writing this. Served cold and poured into a large wine glass, this one was consumed on 09/29/2009.

Huge pour, with a deep, dark orange amber color and a huge head of white coming up and over the top. Majestic looking would be the right word here. Thick lacing up and down the sides of the glass throughout. Most pungent aroma I have come across in as long as I can remember. Thick dose of grapefruit and orange right up front. Huge sticky hops just dripping off of this one. Rich and sweet as I take the first sip. Grapefruit and sugar dipped prange just coating the tongue. Soo fresh it almost hurts. Even warming it brings no relief as the hops are soo thick and omnipresent that you are just taken a back and completely blown away. Long dry finish is coated with soo many flavors, again I am blown away.

Overall soo solid I am just beside myself. Better then nearly every other version of the style i have ever had. I would be thrilled to see this go up side by side against any of the west coast biggies any day

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Photo of ShrLSU
4.92/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

a big thank you to pochman who hooked me up with this bad boy. cheers man!

Appearance - a nice deep hazy copper/amber color with a nice fluffy white head that settled in leaving nice lacing on the edges.

Smell - dayum! piney hops, citrus hops, melon, and tangerine oh my. It's quite sweet with just a hint of malt. exceptional!

Taste - A touch of malt right at the beginning then boom! Lots of hops just flood your mouth, sweet, bitter, and piney all at once. An amalgamation of citrus tastes.

Mouthfeel - Dense as you would expect in a dipa. some oiliness to it as well

Drinkability - This is 10% abv yet I could sit back and smash a six pack. Honestly for a dipa it's extremely drinkable. Might need a little more bite and malt backbone overall but now i'm just nit picking. Exceptional overall!

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Photo of BigAl723
4.92/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thank you to Jerome1929 for hooking me up with Bell's The Oracle DIPA. He purchased a case last Friday the 4th and sold me a few bottles. I've really been looking forward to this!!!

A: Can you say Two Hearted on steroids?!? This baby is bright like a northern Michigan sun. Beautiful like a Hopslam/Two Hearted combo. The head is about 2 1/2 inches thick. Not to mention is leaves a great lacing that lingers until the last drop is gone.

S: Grapefruit, citrus, pine, not like an orange but it's really apple like. Towards the end pinnapple really comes through. This baby smells like fruit big time. Like a DIPA ready to explode.

A: Very bitter but easy drinking. This DIPA is so drinkable it's scary. Slightly different from Hopslam. It's a little bit more hoppy than Hopslam because its lack of honey. The Oracle is straight to the point. Hoppy, bitter, intense, serious, legit, etc. All of the above.

M: Medium to heavy carbonation. Medium in the motuh. Very smooth like a midwest IPA should be.

D: If you like IPA's this is one EASY drinking DIPA. I could probably drink a six pack with no problem. It drinks a lot like Two Hearted. An easy IPA to sip or chug.

Overall, The Oracle is outstanding. I'm so happy to get my hands on this DIPA before it's all sold out. Hopslam and The Oracle are the premier line up of DIPA's in the country. This is very tasty and very complex. Get your hands on this if you can but be may want to drink the whole six pack or case...whatever you may have.

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Photo of Keyportnick
4.92/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served in a bells snifter

A- gloden clear with a slight touch of amber. Pure white creamy head.

S- deep orange and pineapple. Deep citrus fruits with a hop resin finish.

T-dull grapefruit and pineapple. Deep rish hops and oily resins coat the mouth. Amazong finish thats very clean but pronouned.

M-light body and light carbonation. Flavors fill and the hops coat your mouth.

O-This is another prefect example of an american iipa. One of my favorites by far. I could take a few of these down on the prefect summer night.

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Photo of jcdgoad
4.92/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow is all I can say. This is one fantastic DIPA. This beer smells citrussy with hints of pineapple, peaches and funk. It has a more complex taste than Hopslam with less grapefruit. Seek this one out if you can get it while it's fresh. In my opinion it is superior to Hopslam.

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Photo of ypsifly
4.89/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz poured into a goblet.

Hazy orangish amber with about a fingers worth of light tan foam that slowly falls to a veiled ring.

Strong aromas of citrus and tropical fruits. Grapefruit and pineapple with oranges and a good measure of pine sap. Faint fusel background that blends in with the other aromas. The abv let's itself be known without coming across as harsh or incendiary. Very inviting.

Very fruity then bitter upfront. The bitterness stays and seems to intensify throughout the tasting, while a nice backbone of malty sweetness accentuates the fruits while balancing out the extreme hop flavors. A dash of pepper in the back from the alcohol that melds with the ever present bitterness. Long dry finish that is strong on hops without any oils. There's plenty going on, but not too much. This beer has a perfect balance of flavors. Power and precision.

An almost creamy mouthfeel that is balanced by the drying bitterness and proper carbonation. The drinkability is dangerously high. I would drink more of this if it were not so strong and rare.

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Photo of GRPunk
4.87/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (batch #9306) poured into a tulip glass.

A- A normal pour produced about 2 fingers of pillowy, off-white to tan head. The head is sustained at about 1/2 a finger (until eventually falling to a full lace) and leaves all kinds of sticky, fluffy, rings and spots about the glass. The body is a neat combination of gold and peach tones that border on pink. There's a slight haze and light carbonation.

S- The intial aroma was full of hops, lots of earthy/flowery hops with some notes of citrus. It was like sniffing a hop bag. With a little warmth and another whiff or two, the sweeter malts come through. The strong hop aroma eventually comes off with a bit of a pleasant mustiness.

T- So nice. A great mix of bold hops and a sweet malt background. The hops hit up front, give way to the malts, and come back in the finish. You get the early hops in the form of citrus and earthy flavors, a nice sweetness through the middle, and a drying finish. Any notion of high ABV is well hidden.

M- Fairly thick without becoming syrupy. Carbonation is light and the head retention means you sip through some fluffy bubbles. There's a good bite from the hops and a clean, dry finish.

D- It tastes so good, I just want more. The alcohol is well hidden, but definitely makes a statement with a little light-headedness. I'd pick this one up again and put it just ahead of Hopslam as far as Bells' DIPAs go.

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Photo of Amyliz4
4.87/5  rDev +17.1%
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!

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Photo of charlesw
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pale orange amber. Um. It's light. But it's not like yellow, like, at all. No. It's amber. But orange amber doesn't really describe it, either. I should be a color wheel, man. It's a good color. A finger-sized head of almost white tiny bubbles that hang around leaving lacing that never leaves. And a thin film that's there until I finish my glass. Very nice. I'd like the head to last longer (the head proper is only around for 2-3 minutes).

Smells like some malty hoppy dipa we've all had before. Huh. Cascades or similar up the yin-yang (as they say). You smell hints of fields 3 or 4 days after they've spread manure. Oh, there's no way at all you have the slightest clue what I'm talking about. It's earthy. Certainly not "shit" or "barnyard" but there are hints of that in with the earthy grassiness.

Pulling in a sip... It's rich and thick and, yeah, hoppy as all get out. But rich and thick - there's the sweet balance to that ridiculous hoppiness. Kudos, guys! Serious. Pt[E|Y]: eat your heart out! Just watching it slowly ooze back down the side of the glass is an experience... Amazing. And now the whole side of my snifter is covered with foam - just from the one sip. more plus points on the appearance. Anyway, right. Flavor. Sweet and bitter grapefruit. Thick and sweet and bitter and grapefruit. Thick and sweet not at all like a grapefruit of any kind. Like a DIPA should be, frankly. Yes, of course it's amazingly bitter. But there's a big malt backbone to balance that out. And there's no way you detect any alcohol in it - it could be the most amazing energy drink you've ever had, for all you know! But, no, it's fricking beer! This is beer! GTFOOH! Wow. OK. Let's not go overboard. I'm a hardass when it comes to reviews. I've got a reputation to live up to. I've got to find faults. "Hang with me, Joe!" I guess it could use the tiniest bit more sweetness to balance the bitter. Of course, most people won't get to try it this fresh so that will probably be taken care of. Ah. Shucks. I guess this is exactly the way a DIPA should taste, then. You win!

Spot on in the mouth and if I were local and whatever I'd buy cases of this to drink mostly on my own but maybe with a little help from my wife. But, seriously, very nice. Score!

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Photo of waston
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass.

Pours a light amber color, two finger head that fades. Smells pf hops and citrus. Tastes phenomenal! Maltier than Hopslam. Hoppy, citrusy, hints of caramel and toffee. This might be my favorite beer that Bells offers.

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Photo of ZAP
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very excited to try this one...I love Hopslam and this is right up there in my book (although a little different).

A-Peach colored...light white lace..

S-Very impressive...a mix of herbalness and tropical fruits

T-Tropical fruits evident but not boisterous. Pineapple, mango, papaya and even a little coconut. Malt is sugary but subdued and not a big player in this....this has hop flavor but also a nice tight dry bitterness on the finish that compels me to keep picking up that glass.

M-Feels about right....not immense but definitely bigger than a regular IPA...creamy texture...nice balanced bitterness on the finish.

D-Top notch. I'd put this up there with the best of the best for DIPA's

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Photo of crossovert
4.82/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap during the Devin Townsend concert at Reggie's in Chicago.

It is a nice vibrant gold with a frothy white head.

The nose is citrus and pine with a hint of malt.

Flavor is super bitter, nice itter hop bomb, malt comes in as it cools. Big grapefruit.

Awesome beer.

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Photo of GRDave
4.82/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass, chilled (but not cold) in the fridge

A - Poured with a deep amber orange color and about one finger of white head that lasted for about half of the glass. Lacing down the glass as I enjoyed it.

N - Piney and resinous with orange peel and citrus.

T - Very complex taste, starts off hot with a bit of booze, but ends very bitter and dry as the hops come alive

M - Syrupy and sweet, but not heavy.

Overall, very drinkable. I went into it comparing to Hopslam. Not nearly as sweet (honey) but similar base. But so much more bitterness. Very good stuff.


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Photo of midlifec
4.82/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received my one bottle allocation this evening on the way home from work.

Highlights for me:
Smell has strong citrus aromas, an opaque amber gold in color. I could taste tangerine and grapefruit. Lingering taste of grapefruit after swallowing; hides the alcohol extremely well. Did I mention the great smell?

The Oracle is a great addition to Bell's lineup and complements Hopslam. IMHO it is a world class DIPA that matches or exceeds the best West Coast DIPA's.

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Photo of FightingEntropy
4.82/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark gold double IPA that has a bright white head. Massive nose--grapefruit, citrus, peppery spice, pine and a nice malt and earthy blend. Makes the beer simply fun to drink in small sips to maximize the number of times your put your nose in the glass. Oily resin and pine--my fav in a DIPA--in the taste--and pleasantly blistering bite that lingers to the point of just about but not quite overwhelming the taste buds. Dry aftertaste. Get this one if you haven't yet. Two months in the fridge and still going strong. Patience is your friend--let this one warm up in a snifter through a football game on a Sunday afternoon, and you may even be able to tell you're future--another glass!

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Photo of krisandajt
4.82/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A very tasty treat courtesy of mymrnngjckt. You, sir, are the man.

Appearance: An easy pour yields a thick, clear copper colored beverage with a small amount of thin bubbly head. Though there isn't much head, what is there hangs out for a while and there is plenty of thick, sticky, soapy lacing.

Smell: Delicious hops. A nice, moderate hit of citrusy, bitter grapefruity hops. Not overpowering or offensive, but certainly not lacking either.

Taste: Wow. An initial hit of sweet that is immediately followed by the delicious bitter hops that were hinted at in the nose. It's amazing how clearly defined these two contrasting flavors are, and how well they compliment each other.

Mouthfeel: A full-bodied, smooth textured, viscous bit of grog. It almost feels like you need to chew this bad boy.

Drinkability: Hands down one of the best IPA's I have ever had. Definitely one of the brews worthy of the hype it has received. It's a fantastic blend of sweet and bitter, has a great mouthfeel, and it just down right good. Please sir...can I have some more?

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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.16 out of 5 based on 2,710 ratings.
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