The Oracle | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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753 Reviews
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The OracleThe Oracle
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
753
Ratings:
2,604
Avg:
4.17
pDev:
19.66%
 
 
Wants:
451
Gots:
394
For Trade:
9
User Reviews
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Reviews: 753 | Ratings: 2,604
Photo of 98green
4.04/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle to snifter. Look is light orange and clear. Smell is spicy and citrus, plenty of alcohol esters as it warms. Taste is aggressive bitter up front, decent linger, hops more on the dank an earthy side. Malt balances, but bitter is the powerhouse here (in a good way). Feel is thin initially, but a very boozy back end. 10% is tough to hide. Overall a very good effort. I will keep an eye out for the next time it rotates through.

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Photo of daledeee
4.04/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The beer was sold in singles.

I poured this and got a rather cloudy orange brew with a good head and lacing. Nice hoppy nose.

Taste is quite intense hops but not unbalanced. The finish is the most intense. Quite enjoyable. I don't mind the intensity and this is 10% so a good buzz too.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Floydster for sending one of these my way. I realize this is not optimally fresh, but it should still be ok.

Pours a very seductive murky orange with a stark white pillowy head that retains extraordinarily well and leaves optimal lacing.

Nose is full of west coast hop resin, grapefruit, citrus, pine, with a lingering malt sweetness lurking in the background.

Hmmm. I don't know if this is just slightly too old or what, but it tastes like it has just a touch more age on it than i thought. There is still some nice bitter hop presence, and the resinous hop flavor is trying hard to hang on, but the malt sweetness quickly becomes slightly dominant. Sweet bready malt profile. The finish brings alot of bitterness, but again the hop flavor is more subdued than it should be to balance out the malt sweetness. The aftertaste lingers with some really dry hop bitterness and malt stick.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, but it is a tiny touch thick, but still quite dry. Carbonation is about where you'd want it, maybe just a tiny tad low.

Drinkability is good, but would be better if the bitterness was kept in check by some good resinous flavor (which it may have been a month ago). As far as the abv, i dont know what it is so i can't really say, but it seems like about 9%

Overall, an enjoyable beverage, but a bit of a mess at this point. It is certainly still hanging on to its bitterness, but there is not enough hop flavor to make the bitterness worthwhile. The malt profile would be ideal if there was some resinous hop profile to balance it out, but as it sits it appears to strongly in the taste, but not by much. I would be willing to bet this is a shadow of its former self, and this is yet another Bell's DIPA that ages way too quickly. Maybe could have compared to the standard west coast offerings at one point, but as it sits now its just too messy. Hopslam remains my favorite bells hop bomb, assuming, like all Bell's (apparently), its less than 6 weeks old. A nice beer all the same.

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Photo of camil1mj
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fresh batch. Poured at fridge temperature into my Bell's tulip glass.

A: Reddish/gold hue with foamy white head. Good lacing.

S: Wonderful hoppy overtones.

T: Bitter hops gives way to citrus and floral notes.

M: Medium body with a refreshing amount of carbonation.

O: This one is among the elite. If the folks in Cali had access to this they would see it can compete with any of the big dogs.

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Photo of gatornation
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a beautiful peach/amber color with a staying 1 finger head it has a beige ring and head with clinging lacing..its perfect..smell is tropical fruit with malts and citrus hops it permeates the palate..taste is the same as smell.. it mango,grapefruit,citrus and hops all put into a delicious dipa..mouth feel is medium very good 10% abv hidden with all aspects of a good dipa present , but this is alas a top 2nd tier dipa its very good but not great.. its lacking in the tropical and hops explosion that puts it in the A+ range ..oh its good but again it takes backseat to one of its own..hopslam,,still it is a must try and a very good one..highly recommended

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Photo of kbeals
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- 12 oz. bottle decanted into a pint glass unveils a bright, exceptionally clear copper colored brew. Two fingers of eggshell white head sit atop leaving behind thick sheets of lacing. Good head retention.

S- A mixture of floral and citrusy hops. There's even *gasp* a hint of caramel malts. Very strange for a DIPA. It's actually quite well balanced, and the alcohol doesn't really show up either.

T- Very well balanced also. Good mix of citrusy hops and caramel and toffee malts. I'm not really sure if it's supposed tob e balanced though. This is actually the most malt-centric DIPA I've ever had.

M- Smooth, good carbonation, medium body. A bit oily.

D- Pretty good. Gladly, the alcohol doesn't really show up and makes it an easy drinker. I think HopSlam is a better DIPA from Bell's, but this one is good in it's own way.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled December 2009; Batch 9306
A solid, but not overly aggressive pour causes my 25cl tulip glass to foam over. I end up with three-fingers of lightly tan / amber colored head. The beer is a rich, copper - amber color that shows a brilliantly clear, deep copper color when held up to the light. The head is thick with hops and has quite a bit of staying powerr and leaves a nice thick layer of lace on the sides of my glass. Sticky up fron malt notes are framed by a solid, enticing, biscuit-like maltiness. Candied grapefruit zest, tangelo and nice lychee, lemon and even something that is a touch like urea aromatics play a prominent role, but the malt plays a fairly large role here as well (at least it does after a couple months of sitting in the bottle). This has quite an enjoyable nose, and I really like the clean, expressive malt character that is noticeable underneath the hop notes.

As this hits my tongue it is creamy feeling with a hint of diacetyl that is not really distracting in my first sip. A firm, gripping, herbal bitterness becomes more and more noticeable as the beer moves across my tongue. An herbal, essential-hemp oil flavor mixes what I thought was diacetyl, but really seems to be a hop derived flavor. In fact this definitely has a dank quality to it. The herbal hop notes play the lead role, but lots of fragrant citrus / fruit hop notes are found here as well; tangelo oil mixes with grapefruit zest, lychee and piquant tropical fruit notes are all quite noticeable. The malt plays a clearly supporting role here (even more so than in the nose), but still provides a structured biscuit like maltiness, some clean caramelized malt sugars, and a nice whole grain bread like sweetness. This has perhaps just a touch too much body to strike the perfect quaffability I prefer in a DIPA, but it is close enough; light enough to be drinkable, but it does have some sticky palate heft to it. The hop character provides a nice spiciness to this beer that is at times peppery, definitely a touch earthy, but really mostly nicely herbal.

This is quite a nicely "balanced" DIPA at this point. I like the mix of "hemp"-like and fruity hop notes found in this beer. The biting bitterness and bright malt character serve as a perfect anchor for the dominant hop character found in this beer. This is really quite nice at this moment in time. I am curious how this tastes when newly released, but I don't know if it would actually be better than it is right now.

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Photo of a74gent
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 9901

A - a nice medium amber color with beautiful moderate head and sticky lacing.

S - A nice hoppy nose, but nothing distinctive. Just standard good grapefruit nose.

T - The taste is full, but a little too bitter hoppy for me. I'll rate it very high for the style, but not to my liking.

M - A very full mouthfeel with moderate stickiness.

D - If you like the bitter hop, this one is very well done without being just a hop bomb. A nicely refined, bitter hop glass. I'm not sure how you could drink very many of these though.

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Photo of bennetj17
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep gold, with almost an orange hue. Fairly hazy appearance. Half-inch thick foam that holds up exceptionally, leaving a clingy lace once it finally settles. Bright pine and citrus grace the aroma with a doughy, caramel malt balance and some notes of alcohol layered underneath. Smells like this one will be a pretty big Double.

Indeed the citrus hops are massively intense, but they still strike a balance with a hefty malt sweetness. The finish carries a robust and lasting bitterness, and the alcohol is warming but not overly excessive. Medium body with a touch of syrupy slickness, the carbonation is appropriate.

I've waited a long time to try this beer, and while it wasn't a unique revelation, it certainly ranks up there as a great DIPA. The intensity is much like Hop Slam, with perhaps an even greater degree of balance. I would prefer my IPA's more on the single side, but those who like them strong will enjoy this immensely.

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Photo of Meerkey
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Clear, tawny copper. Lots of bubbles.

S: Lots of grapefruit and hops. Nice, but rather unimpressive.

T: Bitter hops and pine resin with some citrus. Balanced with some nice malts. Quite good.

M: Creamy, full, and smooth with a little bit of a kick. Really nice.

O: I like it a lot. Recommended; would have again.

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Photo of orangesol
4.02/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Capone's.

A - Pours hazy golden orange with a nice one finger tall white head leaving thin, spotty, lace down the glass.

S - Smells of grassy and citric hops, fresh cut pine, citric fruits; mostly grapefruit and tangerine; and some light sweet caramel malt.

T - Starts off with a big dose of grassy hop bitterness quickly giving way to a mix of citric fruits and hops, light caramel sweetness, and some sticky pine resin. The finish is a mix of bitter hops and light dryness, lingering on the pallet for a short period of time.

M - Medium body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Bitter, slightly sweet, feel that becomes a little dry at the end of each sip.

O - Not too bad. After drinking all those hoppy Hill Farmstead beers this one was a bit of a letdown but I still enjoyed it. I wouldn't turn one down in the future.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.02/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hazy and fuzzy orange color. Nice head on top. Big citrusy aroma though is somewhat sweaty like. Big hop bitterness right upfront. Tongue stripping hop goodness with a very solid malt backbone. A tad boozey and faintly sweet. Love the mouthfeel-very solid, almost syrupy which I love, and the puckering of the hops just does it for me. A damn fine beer all around. While it is a bit boozey that comes into play across the board and makes for quite an enjoyable brew.

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Photo of Pecorasc
4.02/5  rDev -3.6%
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. Bellsbeer.com 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!

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Photo of MikeWard
4.02/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. bottled on date was 8/8/13, so about 6 weeks old.

Poured an orange-coppery body with about 2 fingers of white fluffy head. Very good carbonation. Head retained well, leaving some very interesting lacing.

Smell was citrus fruit, and some hops.

Taste was as expected from the smell. The hops and grapefruit did battle in the mouth with no clear winner emerging. Lets call it balance shall we?

Mouth was between medium and full, leaving a nice tingling grapefruit taste all around the mouth. Later there was some drying.

All in all, a pretty good offering, something I would enjoy again. The only warning I would give was that a 6 weeks old, there was none of the alcohol burn you might expect from a 10.0abv DIPA. So you might forget about that as you are enjoying this one, is does go down quite well.

Right up until the point you try to stand up, that is.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.02/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks very much to tenderbranson69 for sharing this gem by way of FooFaa- poured chilled from the 12oz into a flared pint

A - A very hazed appearance -like fruit nectar with frothed creamy white foam which clings well in web-like patterns

S - A sweet tangerine + floral hop aroma w/ mild candy-like malt scent. There is a slight grapefruit element in the aroma w/ mellow lemony aspect but only mild nutty and spiced tinges accent the nose

M - The feel is very crisp, dry and bitter w/ citrusy acidity and mildly sweet finish w/ lingering bitter bite and a alcoholic finish

T - The flavor while juicy at first leads to a light pithy and gentle sweet malt flavor w/ bitter grassy hop flavors that combine w/ slightly alcoholic taste. There is mild grapefruit peel notes which give an astringent aspect to the ale and an almost medicinal taste w/ midl grainy tinge in the back

D - The Oracle is very bitter, a hop bomb if you will- the effect is that more than 1 would not be pleasant. The astringent pucker inducing nature makes the palate dry and comes off almost salty after 1/2 a bottle. I think palate fatigue would set in fast for me, but the aroma and taste were very good overall-it just lacks a taste more than 'bitter

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Photo of Gtreid
4.02/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. Bottle curteous of mothman. Thanks again Ben.

A: Hazy burnt orange color. The pour produces one finger of eggshell white head, that recesses to a thin rim and leaves some spotty lace.

A: Big citrus. Grapefruit, orange, and mango. The crystal malt give it a suprising balance.

T: Again, big citrus. Everything I got in the nose. This is just a sweet, citrusy monster of a brew. It finishes super dry with a very pronounced alcohol heat.

M: heavy body, aggressive carbonation. This one coats the palate with a resinous sweetness.

D and overall impression: Drinkability is somewhat subdued due to the high abv, but not bad. Overall, a good brew that I would have no problem taking down again. Skal.

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Photo of tillmac62
4.02/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

BOD 8/8/14. Pours a clear light amber with a touch of dark ruby making it a bit darker than golden. Very nice head with exceptional lacing and retention. Very nice nose of pine, grapefruit, tropical and a somewhat dank hop note over a caramel sweetness that also has a hint of spice. Medium body with a rich oily slick texture. Above average carbonation with a nice effervescent finish. The flavor profile is complex and fairly well balanced given the 10% alcohol content. It begins as a blend of hop flavors, mostly dank with grapefruit and pine notes, that slowly yield to the tropicals as a blended biscuit/caramel sweetness sneaks in. The sweetness fades into a mild bitterness which has a dank and slightly spicy note. As the bitterness fades, alcohol is noted, but not excessively so. The finish is slightly sweet with a nice alcohol burn on the back of the throat. Better than the Mars offering which lacks balance and fails to cover the alcohol well.

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Photo of thecheapies
4.02/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Hazy yellow-peach color has a beautiful glow to it. A thumb of head looked nice at its peak, and fell at an accelerated pace with limited stickage.

Powerful malt presence in the nose without it being too sweet or to toasty. In retrospect, it doesn't take away from an even piney/citrusy hop. Notes of caramelized peach, soft pine, dank resinous citrus, and a floral air.

Dank citrus, pine, and stone fruits with a caramelly barleywine malt smack. Big alcohol presence that never crashes, just feels big. It's like it should be, in other words. Hoppiness is okay, not huge like I would've expected. Could pass for a hoppy barleywine, but I like the hop profile.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly lighter-bodied, which allows a squeal of alcohol to leak through, but the threshold is at the brink of tolerable in such a way that is exceeding of expectations. Carbonation has some gusto, but stays backways. I like this kind of a DIPA in the feel category.

Love holding this sixer after years of waiting to try it. It's not 'outta-this-world' good, just really good. I approve.

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Photo of Ryan011235
4.01/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap in a pint glass at Woodlands Tavern on 9/12/11

Faded, pale tobacco burst; pretty color. Poured a thin, smooth layer of foam. Wispy, sure, but it holds. Sporadic strands of lace up top, but builds mid-glass.

Hoppy aromatics are outstanding and flush with tropical and citrus notes. Grapefruit, peach, tangerine and some mango. It's absolutely bursting with white grapefruit and peach, though. It's fruit cocktail of hop excellence. smells a bit oily with sparse hints of pine resin. Malts are nearly absent, save a faint graininess. Not boozy. I could smell this all day.

Tastes of pine resin, offering a low-slung bitterness. The downside here is that the bitterness finishes a tad astringent. Citrus isn't as expressive as the nose; zest accents are buried in the pine. Toned down malts - grains and biscuit. Faint sugar cookie sweetness at times.

Medium-full feel due to heavy slickness. Alcohol is appreciable but not too hot, just warming. Carbonation if fluffy but fairly soft.

While the taste doesn't live up to the aroma, the latter alone is worth $5 a pint.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.01/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On Tap at Kite and Key for an event. Been looking for this since it's been out. Is there anything this city cant procure.

The Oracle came to me in the glass a dark gold color with spots of a orange with red as well. Not the brightest DIPA. A nice amount of frothy white foam on top that left spraypaint lace. Smell was very piney with a underlining citrus fruit appeal. Apparently dry hopped with god knows what. The smallest amount of malt once the glass is almost done and room temp is reached. Sipping this I was floored by the flavor. This is a DIPA with mad hop presence and not so much of the extra malt found in doubles. This leads to a very bitter pine taste up front in the middle with some citrus afterwards when everything is said and done. The pine sap is bursting out of here. Feel is a strong medium with a very resinous feel down the gullet. It's carbed up nicely but bitter and lasting almost forever. The Oracle is no joke, a DIPA in every sense of the word yet a bit unbalanced and not insanely drinkable. I wanted another one but it would of wrecked my palate into oblivion.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
4.01/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mikereaser sent this one to me. Thanks Mike.

A fairly vigorous pour of Bell's The Oracle produces a good looking beer. The boxy is a hazy copper color with a good amount of carbonation bubbles. The head is nearly three fingers tall, white colored, and immediately begins to leave lacing on my glass. It is also comprised of very large bubbles.

A big malt backbone jumps out at me, but it is quickly followed by a load of bitterness in the form of pine resin and grapefruit. A little bit of booze creeps into my nostrils as well.

The aroma might have fooled me a little bit with a burst of malt, but The Oracle is definitely all about hops, hop flavor, and hop burn. The hops lead off with a big citrus flavor that is absolutely packed with bitterness. The attack on my tongue waged by the bitterness continues, but with big, resiny flavors. The middle of the beer has a noticeable kick of alcohol, and the back end has a bit of pale malt, but just enough. The malt that is there is clean and understated. The finish supplies another burst of hops, and the aftertaste is a powerful combination of resin and grapefruit, with the grapefruit flavor being a little stronger. The aftertaste is really what stands out about The Oracle, it's the best part.

The mouthfeel is oily, but the body is surprisingly light.

I like The Oracle. Even though is has an edge of alcohol, it is a small one considering the ABV. One of the better IIPAs I've had in a while, especially considering they all start to taste pretty similar.

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Photo of barhoc11
4/5  rDev -4.1%

A: Bright gold with a nice white head to it. The lacing on this beer is phenomenal.

S: Citrusy and fruity

T: Tastes a little more fruity than Hopslam and I am a little disappointed with the aftertaste.

M: Good and full

O: I think this is a good DIPA and I would recommend trying it yourself but this isn't something I would kill to have again

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Photo of beatenbyjacks
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Wow was this a hop bomb. lots and lots of hops. oh and quite boozy, but delicious. wish it masked the ABV a bit more, but it was still a great beer.

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Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another thanks to Harrymel for being the most generous trader I've ever come across on BA in my 2 and 1/2 years on this site. Can't wait to meet you Brutha! Bottled 8/12/11 so for a "T" IPA it should still be holding up fine I'd assume.

A - Blood orange in the Tulip I poured it in. Excellent lacing and solid head retention. Activation still there. Very inviting!

S - Holy hops and Malt! Equal amounts of both! Big DIPA here...HEYO!!! Candied caramel oranges and grapefruit...malty sweet.

T - Juicy upfront and dry in the finish...pretty drinkable for 10% but a sipper at the same time. BIG beer here. the 10% is felt. Not boozy but you know it's there. Not as masked as it could be. Candied Oranges, sweet and malty as much as it is big on the hops. Best description - A MUCH BETTER DONE DEVIL DANCER. Nuff said.

M - Although it's juicy upfront and dry in the finish, the heavy dose of malts backing this beer up makes a pretty heavy body. It's not a sessionable 10%+ DIPA like a Pliny the Younger or Terrapin Side project 12 Hopzilla. However, it works for this beer. Hard to explain.

O - everything about this beer is good. I recommend it, but it is not a DIPA or "T"IPA that will blow away your expectations. Very fortunate to have had it though...I am thankful.

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Photo of PBRmeasap1980
4/5  rDev -4.1%

12oz bottle from 2014 poured into 16oz snifter

A- Hazy copper color with thin white head, lots of lacing
S- Subtle sweetness, a bit of dank hops, but not too big of a nose here
T- Sweetness, then big citrus peel-bitter- hops. Like limon and orange peel in almost too bitter of a way. Leaves me with a bitter, almost metalic taste.
M- Medium, leave the mouth sticky with saliva

O- Good, but not great to me. The bitter citrus peel that pushes its way to metalic is holds it back for me. But just one man's opinion.

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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
93 out of 100 based on 753 ratings.
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