The Oracle | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
2,723 Ratings
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The OracleThe Oracle
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
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
Ratings:
2,723
Reviews:
787
Avg:
4.16
pDev:
10.58%
 
 
Wants:
453
Gots:
417
For Trade:
7
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,723 |  Reviews: 787
Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received a few bottles of this in a recent trade with Tyson. Thanks.

The Oracle pours a cloudy, hop-hazed and slightly turbid amber. A hard pour fills my tulip with dense, clinging foam. Head retention is outstanding.

The nose is tropical, fruity, resiny. A pine backbone supports mango, pineapple and grapefruit. I get a touch of biscuit-like malt, but no sweetness to speak of until it reaches warmer temperatures, and even then it's subtle.

The taste opens with a touch of malty sweetness - just a touch - before the aggressive hop flavor takes over. Resiny, rich and bitter with a tropical undercurrent, this has to be one of the ballsiest DIPAs I've ever had. Pineapple and mango fruitiness fades into deep resiny bitterness, with a lingering, borderline astringent finish that never seems to subside between sips. This is a bitter alcoholic beast, but it shows just enough restrain to remain pleasant and drinkable. I wouldn't call this an easily quaffable DIPA, but it's quality stuff. The polar opposite of Hopslam. I'm looking forward to drinking the rest of my bottles.

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Photo of zestar
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

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.

 1,464 characters

Photo of mothman
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #9306

Pours almost 2 fingers of beige head that is hinted light orange. Fades down a bit, but leaves great lace. Color is a hazy bright golden orange.

Aroma: Delicious. Grapes, grapefruit, floral hops, citrus zest. Very fruity and hoppy. Very good.

Taste: Awesome! Massive floral hops, grapefruits, oranges, citrus with zest. Has a lot of the similar characteristics of other DIPAs, but everything blends together here so well. Bready malts and sugar as well.

Mouthfeel: Bitter, but not as big of a bite as I was expecting. Smooth with a little booze coming through. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends with a boozy, floral hp flavored aftertaste.

Overall, a really nice beer. I would give this a 4.5 but the abv sticks out a little to much, but this beer is tasty. Bells really knows how to make some great ipas and doubles. A ton of flavors mixed together very well.

EDIT: If I were to review batch 9901, it wouldn't score near as high. The second batch was much maltier and it wasn't as hoppy.

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Photo of Boone757
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of DrBier
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of Thorpe429
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A bright golden apricot with plenty of white head and great lacing as it goes down. Plenty of carbonation visible throughout.

S: It's like smelling heaven--citrus fruits abound alongside plenty of floral notes and a tad bit of pine. Citrus notes--particularly tangerine and a bit of bitter grapefruit--completely dominate this one, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

T: Much like the nose. The bitterness slaps your palate around, but it's one of the finest beatings you've ever taken. 110 IBU's of pure bliss; Pythia prophesied greatness, and greatness was found in a little shop in Kalamazoo. I'd like to talk about the malt, but I can't. The simple fact is that I can't taste it, and I don't mind at all. Larry Bell wanted deliver a West Coast DIPA, and that is exactly what happened. Hopalicious indeed.

M: Moderate carbonation on a light-medium body. I'd like to know more about the mouthfeel, but I can't help but swallow more and more. It's a hoppy assault on every bud in my mouth, but goes down so smoothly. Fantastic.

D: Phenomenal. Simply phenomenal. Pliny the Roman, meet Pythia and the Oracle of the Greeks. Which is better? It's not my place to say, but place either on my lips and I'll never want to stop drinking.

 1,240 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.73/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 fl oz. bottle with a bottling date of 10 July 2015.

The off-white head is exceptionally creamy, holds up well, and leaves plenty of sticky lacing on the glass. The body is hazy amber-copper.

Aroma: Chiefly fruity hops with some faint floral notes but no sign of malt. Misleadingly suggests a sweet and tart flavor. Gets more complex upon warming.

Taste: loads of hops, including citrus, floral and pine notes. A bit boozy with hints of tangerine peel, apricots and oranges. Moderate-high bitterness but with some sweetness and without a complete overload of bitter grapefruit peel in the aftertaste.

Overall: fine example of the DIPA style.

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

Now part of the bottle selection at the Mellow Mushroom in Greensboro.Poured into a standard pint glass a hazed deep burnt orange with a tight formed,well defined one finger white head that held well.A blast of grapefruit and tangerine aromas lets you know this is some seriuos hop juice comin at ya,a tinge of sweet caramel and alcohol comes into play as well.The mouthfeel is coating but not overly thick,just lush and somewhat oily.Serious hop juice on the palate,huge grapefruit,tangerines,and candied orange flavors,with a little pine resin,but the hop flavors are dominated by the citric hop qualities.Some sweetness imparted from the alcohol and a little caramel,are there as well.This is a bad ass DIPA here,true to what it should be in my mind,not overly sweet and HUGE hops!

 784 characters

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

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

Thanks to beerhan for this so I can finally try it. Packaged on 8/12/11 so not super fresh but not bad.

Pours a fluffy 1 finger head that fades fairly slowly with a nice sticky lacing over semi hazy golden nectar orange colored beer.

Nose has plenty of hops, but not super fresh hops. Candy hops, some citrus and a bit earthy, kinda like those jelly orange candies I used to have as a kid. There is a sweet rich malty base, some reddish caramel malts and almost chewy. Although the hops are fairly bright and slightly floral.

Taste comes on big, lots of malts and hops, quite bitter. A really strong spicy and earthy hop just inundates the palate like an IBU count higher than my weight. Tons of bittering hops, some earthy and spicy, and again more candy and some citrus hops. Again with the candy gummy orange flavors, and orange rind astringent bitterness. The sweet malts blanket everything as well, almost syrupy but not quite, with a bit reddish caramel malt flavor, like that reddish candy syrup and almost maple like sweetness. Then booze, some tingly and warming booze really smack me in the tongue and whole mouth area. it finishes super bitter and astringent as well as spicy hop flavors like I just chewed on a hop pellet, and some sweet sticky feel with a bit of booze.

Mouth is pretty big, thick but not really syrupy just wants to pretend to be, with decent carb and a decent booze kick, and ridiculous bitteringness (just made that word up, you wanna fight about it?!).

Overall interesting, but tough to swallow. Nice sort of balance of malts and hops, but just way over the top on both sides, much more like triple IPA with an IBU count that reaches the moon and back, and malts giving a big body and booze that anesthetizes a bit. Very slow drinking, but tasty. I could drink it again, but not very often.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #9306, acquired from pochman, courtesy of BA Secret Santa 2009 so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep amber color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick on the glass.

S: The aroma is of fruity citrus, piney hops and caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts with strong bite of hops bitterness that gets followed quickly by sweet flavors of caramel and citrus. The sweetness fades and which allows the hops bitterness to come back in full force. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and brings a good balance. There's also a mild alcohol sting. The after-taste is slightly bitter.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, very good representation of style, this is a good strong hop bomb that is worth drinking for a long time.

 947 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a lightly hazy medium golden apricot in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation streaming from the bottom of the glass and some golden yellow + copper highlights. The beer has a two finger tall dense foamy creamy light beige head that slowly reduces to half finger tall thick film covering the entire surface of the beer evenly. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of hops - citrus/grapefruit, tropical/pineapple, and pine. There is also a light aroma of sweet caramel malts.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of caramel malts with a moderate amount of sweetness. That is followed by strong flavors of citrus/grapefruit, tropical/pineapple, and pine hops in descending order of intensity. Moderate to strong amounts of bitterness are present and linger for quite a while.

M: Medium bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Creamy upfront and slightly sticky in the finish.

O: This one is truly for the hopheads, definitely not one for the person that is not a huge fan of hop flavors and bitterness. I enjoyed this one but I can definitely appreciate but the hops are extremely aggressive.

 1,175 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%

Photo of Kegatron
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a tulip glass. Thanks go to lurchingbeast for a few of these in trade. This review kind of slipped through the cracks on me, as I originally enjoyed this in early Oct. '09, still being fairly fresh at that point.

Pours a beautiful looking clear copper, topped with 2 rigid fingers of foamy head (with a slight off look to it). Retains with a sturdy 1/2 finger of froth that hangs tough, slathering the sides of the glass with thick swathes of lacing. Just a nice look here. The aroma is VERY sweet overall and robust in the nose, with tropical citrus and toasted bread, staying pretty even with the more floral, herbal, and spicy character of the hops. I like the flavors involved here a lot but this just lacks a certain intense pop to it, which would really help put this over the top.

The taste starts with aggressive hop character that strikes the tongue with a biting spicy and resinous bitterness. That initial blast of hops is quickly tempered by the sweetness of the tropical fruits and toasty bready malts. A flush of bitterness returns quickly in the backend, with the quite the aggressive dry, pithy, and peppery finish on this, along with some residual stickiness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and I'll be damned if this carbonation isn't as silky and easy as can be, just moving effortlessly. This has a definite warming nature to it (which cuts down the drinkibility just a tad) but that 10% ABV is nicely hidden here, with only a touch showing in the finish and even there, it plays second finish to those lingering flavors.

This was really good but not quite worthy of all the praise that this has been getting. The taste and body were great but the nose was a bit lacking and how it handled it's big ABV fell in line somewhere between the Big Head (decent) and Hopslam (great) in the pantheon of their hefty DIPAs. Still definitely worth a try if you happen to come across it.

 1,919 characters

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.14/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of nathanmiller
3.35/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%

Photo of mendvicdog
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%

Photo of billab914
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Infestaxion for this one.

Poured somewhat hazy amber color into my tulip glass. Poured with a nice foamy white head that laced very nicely down the glass. Smell is dominated by the hops, a lot of citrus coming through. Good tasting DIPA, a lot of bitterness with some piney hops flavors and some alcohol coming through as well as a strong malt profile. Very happy I got to try this one, probably not the best DIPA I've ever had but very good none the less.

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Photo of smithj4
4.19/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Lightly hazed, golden-amber body with a tall, white head. Spotty, patchy lacing on the way down.

Smell: An extensively hoppy scent simply brimming with a stern, resinous grassiness, fresh-cut tangerines, pineapple jelly, and tropical mango spritzed with a strong sweet mead.

Taste: Speedy introduction of biscuits sweetened with toffee and top-notch honey, then, an ardent grassiness touched with tropical fruits, and bitter orange extract represent the generous hopping. Deeply bitter. Throughout the taste, the malts remain completely secondary to the hops. Some heated alcohol leeching into the long, dry, fruity finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Mouthfeel features a tongue-coating smoothness.

Drinkability: A fierce DIPA buzzing with its high hopping that'll leave you reeling and buzzing from the alcohol and satisfaction.

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Photo of russpowell
4.57/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This one is from imperialking, cheers Jeff!

Pours a semi hazed amber with 2 fingers of rocky sand colored head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Pineyness & grapefruit with some biscuitty malt hanging in the background, plus leafy hops once warm

T: Grapefruit, dryness, pineyness, honey malt hiding behind some boozey breadyness up front. Grapefruit takes a pithy front seat as this warms, along with herbal & piney hops. Finishes with herbal & woody hops, plus a ton of grapefruit & a bit of booze tinge, plus dryness & biscuitty malt

MF: Chewy with low carbonation & fantastic balance

Drinks too damn easy for the ABV & IBUs. Hopheads need to seek this one out, would love to have a fresh hopslam for comparative purposes right now. We get a lot of the flagship Bells across the state line; just a damn shame this didn't make it this far south/west!

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Photo of atrocity
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of vfgccp
4.31/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.16 out of 5 based on 2,723 ratings.
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