The Oracle | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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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:
755
Ratings:
2,608
Avg:
4.17
pDev:
19.66%
 
 
Wants:
450
Gots:
396
For Trade:
9
User Reviews
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Reviews: 755 | Ratings: 2,608
Photo of MagicJeff
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Tropical grapefruit notes on the nose and taste. Pick up some green apple as well. Some sweet caramel/brown sugar backbone. This seems like a scaled back hopslam, and that's not a bad thing.

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Photo of BigDaddyWarbuxx
3.84/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This is a no-nonsense IPA. There's no citrus to it, and there's no pine to it. It's hops, front and center. There's also a strong alcohol feel to it.

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Photo of madelfonatree
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled July 10, 2015 brought back from Indiana to Ohio and enjoyed August 11, 2015.

Look - Bright but matte orange. Less than finger of white head that dissipates quickly. Lacing from the get go where head was more apparent. Fine to medium bubbles.

Smell - Dank hop. Grapefruit. Pine. Pineapple. Lemon.

Taste - Malt and pine. Light grapefruit. Caramel and booze on back end.

Feel - Thick carbonation. Medium to heavy feel. Rips away at my tongue.

Overall - I like it. Compares to I Hardcore You, Double Crooked Tree, Devil Dancer, and other malt heavy double IPAs. I thought it wasn't coming to Ohio so got it in Indiana and it showed up today.

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Photo of Jwburns75
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I would say that The Oracle is better than Hopslam, I found it much more drinkable. Alcohol is well hidden for such a huge brew, plenty of citrus in the nose and taste. Very impressive.

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Photo of Big_V
4.11/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On my want list for about 2 years and might I say lived up to expectations. Cloudy orange with little head that laces my snifter. Aroma is citrus and hops. The taste was the same. Hope to score a whole 6 of this. My bottle shop only had singles for sale.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy copper tinted orange with frothy head and lace ring down glass. The aroma is intense, bursting with dry and citric hop aromas and very little else. Soapy, spicy, citric hops in a medium body that somehow is creamy at times yet coats the tongue with tastebud nuking hoppy goodness. A pleasant sipper that is must for a hophead (and a must avoid for any non-IPA drinkers).

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Photo of Stevem68
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is just another great bells DIPA. Pours a deep golden color with a hint of orange. Hoppy aroma with notes of citrus and sweet malts. Flavor is hops up front with a piny / lemon peel after taste balanced by a light malt finish.

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Photo of Cannibalgasm
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

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Photo of pagriley
3.53/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz, 4 weeks old, into a tulip

L - Pale hazy orange with a half inch head that dissipates into heavy lacing
S - a touch of citrus and pine, but not a lot going on
T - Subtle malt sweetness followed by a thump of harsh bitterness
M - medium to full bodied for a DIPA. Soft carb and smooth mouthfeel

Can't get over the lack of balance on this - I know it is supposed to be a big hard DIPA, but somehow the floral / fruity / pine characteristics have been stripped away to just leave a harsh bitterness right in your face. An interesting experiment certainly, but a jarring beer to drink

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Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Hazy orange body, with big head that fades slowly to a thin cap, with one of the most extensive cases of lacing I've seen.

S - Floral elements are out front, smart grapefruit pith, with a definite caramel malt note.

T - Front is fruit and grassy flavors, citrus pith and flesh, that goes to a sweet malt element in the middle, caramel and honey, closing with a strong bitter punch in the close.

M - The carbonation is moderate, and drying considerable.

O - Glad to try one. This is a bit more bitter than my preferred go-to DIPAs, but the floral range and honeyed malts are nice complements. Very solid.

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Photo of vic21234
4.06/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled on date of 07/10/15. I was extremely surprised to come across the last six pack of this at a local shop, as I've never been able to get my hands on a single bottle.

A- Pours a very nice looking cloudy orange color with a fair amount of white head which hangs around awhile.

S- Not as aromatic as I would expect, but some decent hints of pine on the nose.

T- Tons of piney resin character on the initial taste. I really don't get much citrus that some other reviews note. The back end of the taste leaves some heavy notes of caramel malts.

M- Medium bodied, very hoppy and bitter, alcohol is noticeable at 10% ABV. Leaves a rather dry finish.

Very nice sipping DIPA, and pleased that I got to try it. A bit pricey, but expected at a higher ABV.

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Photo of K-Dog
4.6/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Perfect golden cooper color with a rich fantastic aroma. Taste is about as good as it gets for an ipa. Hopslam and Oracle are at the game when it comes to dipas. There might be a few better but not many.

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Photo of justinp444
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy mango orange with a inch and a half thick slightly peach white head. Smell is of tropical fruit, citrus, pine, oranges, grass, and earth with a nice bit of biscuit-y malt. Taste is dry bitter, grass, citrus, oranges, the back end has pineapple, and caramel malt flavor. It has a moderate to full mouth feel that is quite resiny and a medium body with just a bit too much alcohol.

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Photo of Extrajoker00
4.58/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Quick review from notes Michigan Brewer's Guild summer festival 7/25/2015: This beer had been on my want list for over 2 or 3 years. Bells reputation is upheld, as good as I'd hoped

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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 MIbeer27
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle, dated 07/10/15.

Bottle pours a hazy golden orange with a one-finger, white head that recedes but never fully fades. Lacing was outstanding.

Big aroma of pineapple, orange, and apricot. Notes of pine needles are also there, along with a light malt presence.

Taste starts with a balance of the pineapple/orange/apricot notes from the hops and appropriate malt sweetness. This quickly shifts to a rush of pine and resounding, drying bitterness that linger on the tongue for quite some time. Alcohol is noticeable, but expected and subtle.

Mouthfeel is resinous with moderate, prickly at times carbonation. Warming from the alcohol is noticeable all the way to my stomach.

Overall, The Oracle is almost exactly what I look for in a Double IPA. That is, huge punches of hops that don't get overshadowed by the malt sweetness. That being said, I wish the taste stuck with the extremely fruity aroma throughout. Bitterness is also about as high as I can take it. My palette still favors Hopslam, but this is a great offering from Bell's.

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Photo of whynot44
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Hazy amber colored brew with a decent creamy white head that persists and leaves some nice lacing.

The aroma is grapefruit, pine, some vague fruitiness and sweet caramel malt.

The taste is similar, starting with sweet caramel malt, followed quickly by a burst of grapefruit and pine resin, a bit of fruit in the background and bite in the finish.

Medium bodied, fairly smooth, a bit of alcohol heat.

Overall, nicely balanced for a DIPA, definitely worth a try for hop lovers.

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Photo of breadwinner
3.53/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Yowza, that's some straight up aspirin bitterness right there. I sometimes plead for drier IPAs that don't drown in boozy sweetness, but this has gone in another direction entirely. Decent nose, decent look, but that bitterness is a tough pill to swallow.

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Photo of SerialTicker
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Saw this on the shelf at my beer store. I was kind of stunned and went ahead and grabbed a bottle and put it in my basket. After looking at the bottling date, I put it back ... and then suddenly decided to put it back in. Bottled 8/08/14, and poured 1/18/15. $4 single.

Appearance: Hard pour gives half a finger of creamy head with a lot of lacing on the glass. The beer is a very hazy yellow-orange color. Pretty awesome looking beer if you give it a good hard pour.

Smell: A "sharp" malt sweetness... crystal malt? I get a really big sweet maltiness on the start with a then herby/grassy hop character with a fair amount of fruitiness -- I'm not sure what fruits exactly, but I wouldn't call it tropical or grapefruity like Hopslam is by Bell's. Now that I think about it, it's sort of like a lemon tea kind of aroma. It's probably safe to assume that this beer's aroma now isn't quite what it was when it was first bottled, but I really enjoy that sugary sweet malt with the hops.

Taste/feel: Pretty awesome, surprisingly ... and this bottle is over five months old. That sweet, inviting aroma is a bit misleading, because this one packs a nice wallop of bitterness. On the front it's a little sweet, but as it goes down, it gets more bitter, and there's a pretty significant drying bitterness by the time the aftertaste comes. That lemon tea sort of flavor (all I can really explain it as) is what I'm really liking about this beer... that and the slight spiciness and bitterness makes The Oracle quite the gem. There is a little bit of alcohol in the flavor, but that's not especially uncommon in a DIPA that's 10%. The mouth feel is moderate-to-full with a not-too-intense carbonation.

This beer is a completely different animal than Hopslam, which of course, is Bell's other well-known 10% ABV DIPA. Hopslam is sweet all-around and has a tropical fruit kind of vibe, while The Oracle has a very high level of bitterness and a completely different hop profile. I'd really like to try this beer fresh to see the hops shine like Bell's intended them to, but I'm not sure how much brighter they could be, even in this "old" bottle. Ideally I'd like a bit more balance from The Oracle, but it is still a delicious beer.

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Photo of IPAGeorge
4.17/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a tulip from a bottle

A. Pours a hazy orange color with a white fluffy head. Nice lacing

S. A nice piney aroma with sweet caramel malts.

T. Again a nice piney flavor with sweet caramel malts.
Mild bitterness with a green leaf grassy note.

M. Medium body with nice carbonation.

O. A nice beer. Some good balance and feel. Enjoyable. Malt forward if you like that. Would drink again.

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.96/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a clear orange color with an off-white head, decently sized and with good retention for the style. Lacing is of the sheeting variety.
Smell is weak though notes of malt, citrus and hops are discernible, if just barely.
Taste is malty, grapefruit hops, grass, a touch of wood. Balance is very good.
Exceedingly dry from the instant it touches your lips, warming, too. As smooth as you could expect of a DIPA. Lightly carbonated and medium-bodied. Well worth the search.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.26/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

BOTTLE: 12 fl oz. Brown glass. Appealing classy label art. Branded pry-off pressure cap.

Brewed 08/08/14 - well within Bell's 6 month timeframe. Expectations are high; this is currently #20 on the Top 50 Michigan list. 10% ABV. Served cold into a Jester King goblet. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated. Reviewed live as a DIPA per the label.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: One finger wide. White colour. Nice creaminess. Good frothiness. Nice thickness. Has an appealing smooth, even consistency and a soft complexion. Leaves light consistent lacing on the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Retention: average - about 2 minutes.

BODY: Murky orange-copper of average vibrance. Translucent and glowing. Nontransparent. Clean; no yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Overall, it's a nice looking imperial IPA but isn't unique or special.

AROMA: Fruity. Peach, apricot, ripened fruit, pale malts, floral hop character, more tropical pineapple hop character (a note I've never liked in beer), citrusy zest, and some tropical mango. Hints of grapefruit are present, but I don't get grapefruit's signature dominance or punch. Tangerine. A kiss of pine. Grassiness. Caramalts. Mild resinous character.

Overall, it's a fresh ripe fruity aroma with plenty of interesting hop character, but it could be juicier, and the tropical leanings have me worried...I usually prefer a more citrusy, piney, resinous hop character. Nevertheless, it's pleasant and inviting. Above average in strength, with no overt booziness. Critically, the hop bitterness seems well tamed by the pale malts. I hope the taste is as balanced as the aroma.

No yeast character or off-notes are detectable.

TASTE: Loads of hop character: floral hops, some pine, tangerine citrus and accompanying zest, mango, peach, boozy orange, and hints of grapefruit. To balance the bitterness from all those hops, it employs a bit too much caramalt, which makes it overly sweet and lends it a boozy undercurrent. The pale malt foundation gets lost in the mix. I do pick up on the dreaded pineapple hop note, unfortunately. I'd like a juicier more resinous and more citrusy hop emphasis, but this isn't bad.

While I do find it fundamentally imbalanced, I think it's decently built. Nice depth of flavour. Average flavour duration and intensity for the style. It boasts plenty of complexity, but it's not enough to truly compete the big dogs in the style. And there isn't much nuance or subtlety here; it commits to a lot of big flavours without regard for fine-tuning or intricacy.

MOUTHFEEL: Smooth, wet, creamy, soft enough, and fairly refreshing. But the booziness holds it back, and it does have a thick heavy feel on the palate, with a somewhat overbearing presence. Full-bodied. Coating.

Overall, the warmth of the mouthfeel coupled with the tropical fruit from the taste lends this brew a booze-soaked fruit vibe which isn't all that pleasant. This texture is a decent companion to the taste, but fails to elevate the beer.

Overcarbonated.

Not oily, gushed, hot, astringent, harsh, or rough.

OVERALL: It's too boozy to be all that drinkable, but I'll enjoy working my way through it. With a myriad of superior beers in the style available on shelves, I wouldn't pick up The Oracle again, but I'm glad I tried it once. Bell's own Hopslam is a much better (and even more balanced) brew, and this veers too far into tropical hop territory for my personal tastes. The boozy pineapple really turns me off to this, and the overdone caramalt sweetness is equally problematic.

Huge thanks to Duff27 for the bottle!

High C+

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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 Tex_hex
4.16/5  rDev -0.2%

Bottled 8/8 poured into a breakroom snifter. Pours a medium copper color with very thin foam on top. Aroma notes of caramel citrus and booze. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and a little syrupy. At first it's malty, bready and sweet (almost reminiscent of hopslam), followed by the punch of the citrus and heat on the back end. Pretty damn well balanced in my opinion. I read some reviews saying it had too much heat but I wouldn't say it's more than usual for a high abv dipa like this. Maybe it's because I waited a little while before drinking (I promised a good friend I'd wait til he came to town to share). Overall, this is a pretty nice offering from bells. Unfortunately I didn't try the first go 'round of oracle for comparison but I will drink this again without hesitation.

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Photo of MartzMimic
3.91/5  rDev -6.2%
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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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
93 out of 100 based on 755 ratings.
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