The Oracle | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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

Thanks to dontcostnothin for this one! Poured into the DFH snifter glass.

A: Pours a cloudy orange with a nice one finger head with good staying power. Sheets of lacing down the side of the glass.

A: The initial reaction is piney hops, which gives way to some pineapple and other citrus fruits. There is a slight malt aroma on the back and some caramel, but overall dominated by the hops, as it should.

T: Lots of fruity hops up front, similar to the nose. Lots of pineapple as well as some orange. This transitioned to a caramel flavor. The finish is bitter and slightly sticky. There is also a slight alcohol presence at the end.

M/D: Medium to full bodied with nice carbonation. Leaves a bitter sticky flavor/feeling. Overall a very nice DIPA, well balanced and while there is a great hop presence I would not call it a hop bomb. The malts balance it out nicely.

 873 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.67/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

"The ancient oracle said that I was the wisest of all the Greeks. It is because I alone, of all the Greeks, know that I know nothing."

--Socrates

Luminescent tangerine when the glass is backlit with bright morning sunshine. Honey hued highlights can be seen along the edges and a beautiful crown of alabaster colored cream is perched on top. The foam looks even better as it melts and is beginning to lay down a ridiculous amount of sticky lace.

The aroma is everything I crave in a DIPA. Malt is essentially absent and American hops explode from the glass. Their tropical fruitiness almost certainly means that Simcoe (my current favorite) is in the house. Juicy pineapple is followed closely by grapefruit and orange. Prediction: this is going to be amazing beer.

When comparing the Bell's DIPAs... The Oracle isn't quite as good as HopSlam and is better than Big Head San Diego Style Ale. There's a huge amount of hoppiness in this sucker, but the alcohol isn't masked as completely as it could be. Waiting a little longer isn't a good idea because the hops for alcohol tradeoff isn't acceptable.

At least Larry didn't blur the flavor profile by adding much of the mid-range malts. There's a hint of toastedness that is easily ignored, mostly because it's quickly overwhelmed by hop flavor and alpha acids. Hopheads and big beer lovers will go crazy over this lupulin soaked beast. Those who think that balance is best... not so much.

The flavor profile is on the simple side. Then again, there's nothing complicated about a well-crafted DIPA. Sugared pale malts are rock-ribbed in their sturdiness. Even so, they barely hold up to the American hop assault that hits like a buzzsaw as soon as beer hits tongue. We're still looking at candied pineapple, chunks of white grapefruit and a wee splash of Stolichnaya Cristal.

The mouthfeel is sheer perfection. It's a dead solid perfect combination of fullness and silky smoothness. The alcohol cuts through like a sharp knife through butter, keeping the beer from being too sticky or thick. Does this thing go higher than 5.0?

The Oracle is yet another amazing beer from the amazing brewer that is Larry Bell. If you like balls-to-the-wall DIPAs, then you've come to the right place. HopSlam Ale is still my favorite, but this outstanding elixir isn't far behind. Two wildly enthusiastic thumbs up.

 2,356 characters

Photo of drewone
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of duceswild
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%

Photo of millerbuffoon
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Photo of mikesgroove
4.92/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Talk about intense, wow. I was thrilled to death to be able to land a bottle of this. Could be my favorite DIPA of all time after writing this. Served cold and poured into a large wine glass, this one was consumed on 09/29/2009.

Huge pour, with a deep, dark orange amber color and a huge head of white coming up and over the top. Majestic looking would be the right word here. Thick lacing up and down the sides of the glass throughout. Most pungent aroma I have come across in as long as I can remember. Thick dose of grapefruit and orange right up front. Huge sticky hops just dripping off of this one. Rich and sweet as I take the first sip. Grapefruit and sugar dipped prange just coating the tongue. Soo fresh it almost hurts. Even warming it brings no relief as the hops are soo thick and omnipresent that you are just taken a back and completely blown away. Long dry finish is coated with soo many flavors, again I am blown away.

Overall soo solid I am just beside myself. Better then nearly every other version of the style i have ever had. I would be thrilled to see this go up side by side against any of the west coast biggies any day

 1,147 characters

Photo of Slatetank
4.02/5  rDev -3.4%
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 woodychandler
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

I am supposed to be getting out of the bottled beer business, but I saw a notification come across that these were (briefly) locally available and since I am unemployed and disengaged, I hied right over and bought one.

From the bottle: "A double IPA that is sure to make you as all-knowing as Pythia. It's just a matter of interpretation."

From my past: I will NEVER forget teaching Summer (2004) School and one of the students pronounced it as "Thee Oh-Rack-Uhl" and soon, the entire class began to pronounce it that way, despite my attempts to correct them.

Enough looking backwards into the past! I Pop!ped the cap, began an aggro pour and sat back as a pseudo-cascade morphed into three fingers of dense, rocky, eggnog-colored head with frightening retention. I had already angered The Oracle and I had no one to blame but myself, since #TheOldLady has repeatedly voiced her displeasure with regard to how I pour beer (among other things). I watched in awe as it settled, producing sticky lacing that only one of Zeus' thunderbolts would be capable of removing. Color was solid Gold (SRM = 5) with NE-quality clarity, but since we were going Greek today, only Midas and Croesus appeared before me. Usually, I discount their nonsense, but I was also in the presence of The Oracle and I did not want to incur her wrath. I fell to my knees and held the chalice out to them from the position of a humble supplicant. As I did so, I caught a whiff of its nose, a majestic smell, like an entire pine forest had been felled and jammed into the bottle. It was actually NE-plus clarity because this time, The Oracle was going to look into my future! I felt faint. I began to fall backwards when Croesus reached out and grabbed me, bringing the chalice to my lips that I might also partake. I suddenly realized that they respected me, which is why they routinely showed up in my kitchen. I had been mocking them, wrongheadedly, and I vowed to embrace each of them on their next visit. The mouthfeel was a thick and viscous as honey. There was an initial burn on my tongue, followed by a glorious wash of hops and my eyes opened wide. The Oracle was somehow in my psyche and I saw my entire future laid out before me and I understood why mortals should not dabble in such arcane arts! I wanted to forget everything that I had seen, but there was no turning back. I was to become a King Midas of hops. Everything that I would touch after a certain point would become laced with hops! My tongue fell from between my lips and lolled around, overwhelmed by the intensity of the hops inherent in this beer. It was not meant for mortal consumption and yet The Oracle, Midas and Croesus had seen fit to confer me with some of it. The finish was as dry as the desert islands of Alonissos and as my throat constricted, I fell back, into Midas' arms only to awake on my living room couch. Was it all just a dream-like vision or did I really drink this beer? Only Pythia knows for sure!

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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.

 721 characters

Photo of ZEB89
4/5  rDev -3.8%

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

Thanks to brewdan for hooking me up with a few bottles of this beer. I couldn't wait for it to arrive.

A: The Oracle pours a hazy copper color with a very fluffy white head and amazing lacing.

S: Can you say hops? I had very high hopes for this one and I was not let down. An absolute assault of pine and grapefruit hops followed by a slight malt sweetness.

T: Much as I would have expected from the nose. This is a very bitter beer. Very bitter (I felt the need to emphasize this). After the initial pine subsides, there is a very refreshing grapefruit flavor. The finish is resinous and bitter as well.

M: The carbonation is actually fairly low which gives the beer a very sticky mouthfeel.

D: You have to be an absolute hophead to enjoy this one. It is a very bitter hopbomb, and very different from Two Hearted and Hopslam. I am very pleased with this offering from Bell's, however. They rarely seem to disappoint.

 923 characters

Photo of Gkruszewski
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of orangesol
4.02/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

 848 characters

Photo of PA-Michigander
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of paulish
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Kite & Key in Philadelphia. Served in a chalice.

A - Deep golden, slightly orange body with a nice white head and great lacing.

S - Strong citrus hops and caramel malts. Those flavors are great, but I get a lot of booze.

T - Much like the aroma. Nice citrusy hops. Grapefruit and orange hops. Good bitterness in the back, but, again, lots of booze.

M - Surprisingly not thick. Maybe even a bit dry. The booze comes out the most, though.

O - It would be spectacular if it weren't so boozy. That really just kills it.

 534 characters

Photo of MarkyMOD
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of TMoney2591
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a snifter at Beer Bistro North.

Finally getting to lay my tastebuds on this elusive DIPA. It pours a clear brass topped by a finger of lightly off-white foam. The nose comprises grapefruit zest, pine needles, honey, and sickly-sweet caramel. The taste pretty much brings in more of the same, but now everything is more powerful: The grapefruit is heavier, the pine is sharper, the caramel is sweeter. It's all a bit much, especially when the sweetness and the pine mix together to form a mild menthol kind of character in the finish. The body is a hefty medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a thick feel. Overall, a solid DIPA, but one that seems to be too big for its own britches. I'd drink another, if only to figure out where the fanfare for this beer comes from, especially when a slightly more refined version can be more easily obtained (at least, in these parts) in the form of HopSlam.

 914 characters

Photo of atlbravsrno1
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of Zaphog
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of thatoneguymike
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by drabmuh. This beer kicked off our New Year's Eve session. Thanks Matt!

A: Very hazy yellowish-orange in color, with a dense inch of white head. As the head slowly recedes, it leaves a good amount of lacing on the glass.

S: The aroma consists of hops, citrus, grapefruit, malt, respectively.

T: Ooo...delicious double IPA. I already want more. Of all the IPAs and/or DIPAs that I would consider balanced (hop forward, but with a noticeable malt bill), this is the best one I have had. The beer has a wonderfully delicious citrus taste, particularly grapefruit. After the initial blast of tangy hops, the flavor is rounded out by a smooth, tasty malt component that ties the whole thing together. Really well done.

M: The Oracle really shines in terms of mouthfeel and palate. Tangy, lingering citrus flavors with masterfully hidden alcohol content.

D: This bottle was just over four months old, and still had plenty of hop flavor and freshness. I can only imagine how excellent this must be when enjoyed very fresh and/or on draft.

 1,052 characters

Photo of BMart
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of InspectorBob
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

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

Thanks to Timmi for providing me with the opportunity to try this due to a prearranged in-person trade at DLD.

Batch 9306 poured from a brown bottle into a snifter. The oracle appears a slightly hazy orange color with 2 fingers of yellow stained creamy head that receeds slowly leaving legs of lace all about the glassware as it receeds. While sipping, lacing appears in patches all over the glass. By the end of the experience, there is still a layer of lupulin infused/stained head still sitting atop the brew. The aroma of this beer is magnificant; smelling of sweet hop goodness primarily pineapple with some hints of orange and some other fruity goodness hanging out in the background. Some minor notes of caramelized sugar comes through in the back of the nose as well with a minor sting of alcohol. Taste is bitter piney hops upfront that are very resine-like in the way the bitterness wraps itself around your tongue and just stays. Other flavors of the hops come off as being slightly herbal and earthy with some slight citrus flavor that just outright dominates the minor malt sweetness that attemps to balance out this bitter hop monster. There is a lingering flavor of hops left in the mouth long after each sip tasting both herbal and piney. Medium feel with a modest level of carbonation. As the oracle warms, the alcohol becomes increasingly evident and exaggerates the already exceedingly prounounced hop character. This beer is phenominal, Bell's needs to brew this again!

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