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

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The OracleThe Oracle
BA SCORE
4.16/5
Exceptional
2,730 Ratings
The OracleThe Oracle
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Michigan, United States
bellsbeer.com

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
Ranking:
#1,485
Reviews:
788
Ratings:
2,730
pDev:
10.58%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
453
Gots:
416
Trade:
7
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,730 |  Reviews: 788
Photo of Sammy
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I liked the orange coloured body with a beige topping of foamy head. A decent DIPA with in your-face assertive hops so it hits the spot. Understated for the astringency it could have. Good drinkability, however I was not overwhelmed. I like a number of IPAs better than DIPAs, the case again here.

Had it on tap at the brewery 7 months later and it hit the spot. Hoppy aroma.Very drinkable though carbonation above average. Very good citrus hops.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of jaydoc
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of acurtis
3.65/5  rDev -12.3%

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 StonedTrippin
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of Knapp85
4.37/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the Eccentric Cafe in Kalamazoo, it was one of the only beers from Bell's that I hadn't been able to find here in PA. The pour of the beer was a nice copper color. The head faded really quickly and didn't leave much lacing at all. The smell of the beer was wonderful, lots and lots of citrus on the nose. Not quite as good of an aroma as HopSlam but close. The taste was a citric pine tartness with a sweet dry aftertaste. The only problem I had with the beer was it's mouthfeel. It seemed to be just a bit watery for my liking. Other than that it was a damn good brew.

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

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%

Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%

Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
4.09/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of metter98
4.01/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: The beer is quite hazy orange yellow in color. It poured with a finger high beige colored head that died down, leaving a latch of bubbles in the center, lots of lacing down the sides of the glass, and a thin film of bubbles on the surface in between.
S: Moderate to strong aromas of pine resin hops are present in the nose along with notes of citrusy hops.
T: The taste follows the smell, but has strong notes of underlying caramel malts. The pine resin lingers into the finish. There is a moderate amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. The pine resin hops also lend some prickliness to the mouthfeel.
O: This beer has a very good balance between the malts and hops and does a good job at masking most of the alcohol from the taste.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
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!

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Photo of kojevergas
3.26/5  rDev -21.6%
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 oline73
3.37/5  rDev -19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this on-tap at the Eccentric Cafe as a part of my sampler.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber color with a finger of off white head. This beer has amazing head retention with a solid layer of head remaining throughout the pour.

Smell: Really mild, which I would not expect from a 10 percent double IPA. Some malt and mild citrus hops. I expected more.

Taste: Better than the smell. Bitter citrus peel hops throughout. Some malt, but it is overwhelmed by the bitterness. The finish is really bitter.

Mouthfeel: The body is a bit thick with smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: Really bitter. I expected more body given the abv. I probably won't have another given all the other DIPA options.

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Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of emerge077
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Fresh as fresh can be, batch 9306 packaged August 28, 2009. Thanks d0b for the hookup! Review from notes.

Orange with a little touch of hop haze, sticky foam on top that produces sheets of lacing over time. Retention is strong, and there's a generous amount of head for the duration of the glass. Nose is funky and dank with fresh hops, green and oily. Lots of fruity dried apricot, with tropical and citrus notes that were hard to isolate. A musky element to the dankness, some might say cat pee. There's alot going on in each whiff. Rich toffee flavor, dry resiny citrus oils. Fruit roll up/leather impression. Intense bitterness verging on face-caving. A moderate level of alcohol is wrapped up in the rich layers of this DIPA. Definitely a slow sipper, although a couple of these wouldn't be out of the question. A palate destroyer/tongue bruiser/take no prisoners style hop bomb. Thanks again Dave for sharing!

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Photo of zeff80
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a clear, copper color with a one-finger, off-white head of bubbly foam. It left thick rings of sticky lace on the glass.

S - It smelled very piney with citrus aromas. It had a slight roasted malt aroma, too.

T - Fantastic. Big piney flavor with a citrus kick, nice spices and burnt toast maltiness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry, clean finish.

O - This is outstanding. So glad I was able to try a pint on tap. Great beer.

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Photo of superspak
4.16/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 8/8/2014. Pours slightly hazy bright orange color with a 2 finger dense and rocky off white head, with incredible retention, that reduces to a large cap that lasts. Dense soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, lemon zest, orange peel, citrus rind, floral, grass, pine, light caramel, bread, and floral/grassy earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of bright citrus/tropical hops and moderate malt sweetness; with good strength. Taste of big grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, lemon zest, orange peel, citrus rind, floral, grass, pine, light caramel, and floral/grassy earthiness. Good amount of pine/citrus rind bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, tangerine, pinapple, lemon/orange zest, citrus rind, pine, light caramel, bread, and floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity of juicy citrus/tropical hops and moderate malt sweetness; with a good malt/bitterness balance and minimal cloying bitterness after the finish. Medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a moderately slick/sticky mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is fairly well hidden with a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent DIPA. All around great complexity and balance of citrus/tropical hops and moderate malt sweetness; and fairly smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of brentk56
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a golden tinged amber with a rocky, three-finger head that sticks clumps of lace to the pint glass

Smell: Resinous grapefruit with pineapple tones; the malts take a back seat

Taste: Just a hint of toasty bread up front and then the hops make an assault, with grapefruit, pineapple and lychee leading the way; after the swallow, the bitterness steps it up a notch beyond the fruity and the alcohol also makes its presence felt in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; a bit of warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: Another fine DIPA from the folks at Bell's; stands up to the best from the West Coast

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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 4.16 out of 5 with 2,730 ratings