The Oracle | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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The OracleThe Oracle
2,726 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,726 |  Reviews: 787
Photo of TheWolf
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

very well balanced. the high bitterness on the finish helps to offset the high alcohol content. quite tasty.

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Photo of FRivard
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a brewery goblet. batch 9901.

Appearance is a soft caramel golden hue. poured a one finger creamy head.

Smell is very hop forward and resiny a bit fruity and some honey peeks through as it warms.

tasted very piny and earthy hops definetely at the forefront balanced well for a DIPA the malt is definetely present as the alcohol makes its way forward at the end.

mouthfeel is very warm and inviting hop forward and finishes a bit dry very earthy.

drinkability as it warms it releases a fruity aroma as the hops blend a bit more definetely could enjoy another at the same sitting.

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Photo of argock
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a Duvel tulip. Batch number 9901 on back label (August 23, 2010, bottling date). Single purchased at Beer Run (Charlottesville, VA) for $4.

A: Hazy orange-tangerine with 2-finger, off-white head with good retention for the ABV and a wide band of crusty lace.

S: Crisp, bright hefty West Coast hoppiness with pineapple, grapefruit, and pine resin mingling with light aromas of pale malts with a bit of toasted caramel malt as well. Not a balanced beer.

T: Hops, hops, and (thankfully) more hops with this very good brew which features big tropical fruit flavors cut with resinous bitterness and enough pale malt to hold it together. Bursting with pineapple, orange, resin, and pine, the only trouble spot is the not-so-well hidden alcohol which enhances the harshness of the hoppiness (not a problem) but does present some faint fusel qualities. All in all, though, The Oracle hits all the right notes for a big-time West Coast DIPA.

M: Full-bodied and it mixes just the right amount of stickiness and smoothness. Aftertaste is pineapple and resiny bitterness.

D: I really liked this brew a lot -- it is a lot less subtle than Hopslam or Hop Wallop, but the brashness of hoppiness it represents is done very well. A must-have for hopheads out there.

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Photo of Axnjxn
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a teku glass. 8/8/13 bottling date

Pours a darker orange with a 2 finger white head with superb lacing. The smell is very subdued on the hops but what i do detect i really like. The taste is very bitter up front. Very bitter. Good amount of malts too though. Grapefruit dominates the palate. The bitterness definitely lingers too. Medium bodied with mild carbonation. 10%ABV undetectable.

Overall not world class by any stretch of the imagination but very drinkable for 10%. Not very complex. Doesnt touch hopslam or even 2 hearted, so dont go out of your way for this one. Still, recommended.

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Photo of hypnotoad1
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of 1Nrwyscotch
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of djrn2
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of rderedin
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Photo of CooperEllis
3.91/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz into .3l tulip in from mistakebythelake today and, as he is feeling like the hops might already be fading, popped it at once.

Great color, nice clear, bright copper with a thin head.

I'm not smelling much off the top but sweet hops.

Very complex hopforward taste. There was a bit of bitter, but a lot of sweet, floral notes underneath. I could see where these tastes may be more pronounced, but I'm finding this 'age' is certainly enjoyable.

Evenly weighted, a bit of booze in the feel, and s slightly oily feel up front.

I'd drink it all day if it weren't 10% abv.


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3.91/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bells Oracle

Appearance: The “other” DIPA from Bells pours a beautifully rich, slightly hazy golden orange of a ridiculously effervescent quality. It is crowned with an utterly perfect two fingers of cream-colored head that is as dense as homemade whipped cream; it flatly refuses to dissipate, almost to a fault, and, when it eventually does dissipate (which required drinking some first), it leaves heaps of lacing all over the glass. This beer looks absolutely magnificent and ranks among the best looking beers out there. 5/5

Aroma: Oracle explodes out of the glass with a blast of extremely dank pine resin, intense lemon and grapefruit rind (but not a hint of the sweeter flesh of either fruit), grassiness, and perhaps the tiniest suggestion of orange and pineapple. The malt bill is very clean and somewhat weak but does impart a slight twinge of sweetness. The alcohol is really the only detectable sweetness in the beer. This is outrageously intense to the point of being overwhelming. Imagine Hopslam on steroids minus the balancing quality of the honey sweetener. 4/5

Taste: If possible, the taste takes the aroma up yet another notch in bitterness. This Bells offering is ludicrously bitter, and this fact cannot be stressed enough. Despite the sweet alcohol and the minimal malt bill noted in the nose, have no illusions: this is not even close to balanced. It is nothing but a piney, grassy, rind-y assault so over the top that no other flavors are even detectable, other than an exceedingly mild sweetness in the back end that ends up feeling like five-minute rain shower in the Sahara. It is strange, but the bitterness in this beer is a bit herby and vegetal, almost like really fresh kale (without the taste of kale) or chewing a mouthful of fresh cut grass. There is not much depth or balance here. In a word: intense. 3.5/5

Mouthfeel: The viscosity is very moderate, exactly where one would want it in a beer like this. Unsurprisingly, the astringency scorches the tongue and mouth nearly to the point of unpleasantness, which also makes the finish insanely dry. Carbonation is perfect, and the beer is surprisingly drinkable (or would be if it were not so impossibly bitter). Each sip leaves a nice stickiness on the lips. The mouthfeel is exactly where it should be if it were not for the overdone astringency. 4/5

Overall: Wow. Just wow. I did not know what to expect coming into this beer, but Hopslam this is not. This is without a doubt the most bitter beer I have ever drank, and I’ve had Palate Wrecker, Ruination, Abrasive, Arctic Panzer Wolf, Double Sunshine, Resin, etc. Mark this down as the only beer I have ever had trouble finishing alone due only to the bitterness. I would say that this is the hop-lover’s dream, but I am a hop lover, and this was still too much. With a more assertive malt bill, Oracle could really shine; it need not be totally balanced or anything, but some semblance or hint of balance has got to make itself known. The beer is top notch in craftsmanship and to style (if ultra-bitter DIPA is a style), but when I have trouble finishing a 12 oz. of this and can put down bombers of Arctic Panzer Wolf with no trouble, well, there might be a problem. Looking at other reviews, I feel like there must be a lot of bottle variation with this beer, since I got almost nothing but resin, but others note ample tropical fruit. Regardless, in summation, seek this out if you are a masochist. 16.5/20

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Photo of Hayes86
3.91/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of MartzMimic
3.91/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours from the bottle a light copper with about a finger of head. It dissipates quickly, leaving a small layer of foam on top. Not much of an aroma, just a bit of malt and caramel. Malt is definitely the first thing you taste, then vanilla, caramel, turning to citrus then - Wham! - the hops and booze kick in. Lots of piney bitterness coats the tongue. And plenty of burn. Medium mouth that's a touch oily. Definitely not your typical DIPA, but it's pretty good.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.91/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle from a trade with kstrickler into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a beautiful, clear copper body underneath an inch of creamy white head. Strong retention and tons of fine, spidery lace. Perfectly gorgeous DIPA

S: Nice hop-forward aroma that showcases pine, along with some tropical fruit, caramel malts, and some alcohol. Very smooth and creamy aroma, but it's pretty clear that the hops have faded significantly in the months since this was bottled. Still, pretty nice.

T: Lots of pine, some grapefruit and mango, and mildly sweet malts toward the end. It's truly delicious up to the finish, but here a massive wave of overwhelming booze. It's really quite a disappointing end to a stunningly tasty beer.

M: Smooth medium body with light, swelling carbonation that ends things beautifully. Very nice.

D: I guess it's hard to complain too much about a 10.4% beer being hot, but this one is far, far harder to drink than the similarly strong Hopslam.

Notes: I can't get enough of how good this beer is at first, but the aftertaste is just off-putting enough to keep this from being one of my favorite DIPAs. Thanks to kstrickler for giving me the chance to try it. I'll have to seek out a fresh one the next time it's released to see whether more dominant hops will outweigh the booze. Here's hoping.


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Photo of Dankacheese
3.91/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of wellsnb
3.92/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of deakin
3.92/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of McBAINx
3.92/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of detlefchef
3.92/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark orange-brown color with full but not overdone head. Wouldn't mind a bit more clarity though.

At very first smell, I didn't get much hops but subsequently gave off nice piny and candied pineapple aromas.

Lot's of booze on the palate and a bit disjointed. Just seems like a lot going on without much holding it together. Nice, juicy finish but just seems sort of blown out. Keep in mind, fair or not, I came in expecting something more special. Tasted blind, I may have thought is was good enough.

For the level of booze, however, it does drink pretty easily.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to kzoobrew for sending me this one!

Pours a clear light copper orange with a 1 inch off-white puffy head that fades to a thin cap. Thick rings of foam line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of floral and herbal hops that dominate over any other scents. Taste is of pineapple and grapefruit with a very bitter citrus zest and herbal finish. An assertive bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a light carbonation with a medium body and a slightly sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good DIPA with some aggressive hop aromas and flavors that bash the palate.

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Photo of DantheMan75
3.92/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of FBarber
3.92/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours an opaque orange color. Soapy white head dissipates very slowly leaving sticky lacing and a slowly thinning residual head.

Smell is very herbal and grassy - almost smells like a wet greenhouse. Hints of citrus are noted.

Taste is very grassy, lots of bitter wet vegetation flavors. I believe the common term to describe this would be "dank". Very prominent malt backbone gives it a caramel like flavor along with a bready backbone. Very bitter finish with a lingering bitterness. Its certainly a dank hop bomb - and if thats your thing, you'll love this. If not, you'll hate it. Also isn't all that balanced - but I suspect they were going for a hop bomb.

Feel is actually pretty light for a DIPA. Easily drinkable. Mild carbonation - bit less than I would have liked.

Overall a nice DIPA from Bells. Not sure I think its as good as the ratings here would suggest, but its a solid beer. If you like dank bitter hoppy IPAs then you'll probably like this one.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.92/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip.

a - Pours an orange-amber color with two inches of off white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of oranges, citrus hops, fruity malts, honey, and hints of piney hops.

t - Taste has a huge bitter kick to it. Tastes of grapefruit, citrus hops, orange, piney hops, fruity malts, and alcohol. A little bit too bitter for me.

m - Light to medium body and low carbonation. Smooth and if not for the big bitter kick, would be very easy to drink.

d - I thought this DIPA smelled really good, but the taste was too bitter and the alcohol was too prominent in the taste. Would give another shot, but not as good as Bell's other IPA/DIPA's like 2 Hearted Ale or HopSlam.

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Photo of rawfish
3.92/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

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

The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Beer rating: 4.16 out of 5 with 2,726 ratings
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