Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

The Oracle | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding
782 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
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
Reviews:
782
Ratings:
2,696
Avg:
4.16
pDev:
19.71%
 
 
Wants:
454
Gots:
413
For Trade:
9
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 782 | Ratings: 2,696
Photo of fiver29
4.57/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Josh with a group of other beer lovers. Thanks Josh! Pours orange with off white head. Aroma is citrus grapefruit simcoe hops. I said I thought the aroma reminded me of hopslam without the honey. Opulent mouthfeel. Flavor follows the nose and has a great citrus hop blast from grapefruit or orange and finishes semi dry with slight alcohol. Someone else suggested it was like their big head. Either way a great IIPA and was a pleasure to try. Thanks!

 467 characters

Photo of drxandy
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I got a bottle of the first bottling and thought i reviewed it, apparently not - this batch around, here we go

12oz to tulip glass, pours a peachy shade, creamy head retains excellently

smells of hops and more hops, biscuity malt

taste is nice and dry, sweetness in the middle, bitter lingering delicious hops. good finish

mouthfeel is bitter and creamy

overall a very nice dipa, very drinkable, good weight for alc content and excellent balance.

 451 characters

Photo of madelfonatree
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

 655 characters

Photo of RustyDiamond
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 9306 packaged on August 28.

Hazy orange pour with a solid finger of near white head. Frothy with some nice bubbles. Clean with some very fine hop molecules.

Aroma of hot pine sappy grapefruit rind. Some sweet fruit too...peaches maybe cantaloupe.

Hits you in the back of the throat immediately upon impact. Hop vapor explosion. Floral hoppy to bitchin' hot in a second. Chewy piney grapefruit. Phenol felt in the mouthfeel surrounded by hop power. Faint taste of sourdough pretzels. Very tart and chewy in the middle...grapefruit rind x 10.

Wicked lacing up and down the glass. Very intense and very good.

 615 characters

Photo of whoneeds8
4.26/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to biglobo8971 who sent this for the winnings from the Sunday Night Football Squares LIF week 4. I'm enjoying this watching Game 5 of the ALDS cheering for the Rangers!!!!

Poured into a tulip glass a golden orange with a two finger foam white head. Great lacing and retention. My allergies are a PIA this time of year, and all I can find in the scent is some alcohol. But that's my noises fault. The taste has some piny hop notes with a slight citric sweetness that morphs into a carmel flavor and hoppy bitter aftertaste. Very complex. The mouthfeel isn't too thick or too thin, just right for the style. And the alcohol is well masked making this a very drinkable IIPA.

 683 characters

Photo of cwguy5
3.68/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Brawley's for this one!

A - deep golden, orange color with one finger, bubbly head; faded to nice a covering cap with enormous amounts of lacing
S - aromatic hops, then malt and bread, then pine
T - bitter in front followed by brief pineapple then huge piney, bitterness at end
M - velvety smooth; medium carbonation with fine, foamy bubbles
D - drinkability for me is low here; not sure if this is from the bitterness or the lack of much fruit or anything beyond pine oil; just not my favorite palate for a big ipa

 526 characters

Photo of mdvatab
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into imperial pint glass.
Bottle dated 8/12/2011. (Gotta love a 9-day old DIPA!)

Aroma: Green pine needles and herbal hops, sweet tea, red delicious apple, and nice peach aroma sets in after a while.

Appearance: Golden-copper, crystal clear body. Thick, two-finger, persistent off-white head. Nice, foamy lacing sticks to inside of glass.

Flavor: Deceptive honey-like sweetness and medicinal hop up front. Pine resin quickly follows. Strong bitterness then ramps up as sweetness subsides. Bitterness then ramps up, and increases well through the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation and medium body. Alcohol is warming in the throat after swallowing.

Overall: Lots of great things going on here. From the fantastic aroma, to the appearance, to the roller coaster ride of flavors. I will say-- the bitterness that shows up after I swallowed each sip was almost enough to make me cry uncle! If you have a taste for some powerful bitterness, and can get a hold of this one, I highly recommend it!

 1,023 characters

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

Huge thanks to Buckeyenation for throwing this in as an extra - generous guy.

Pours an amber orange color with a huge, frothy white head. Beautiful sticky lacing - although the lacing continued throughout the experience, the upper part of my glass was especially plastered. Wonderful. My only knock on the appearance would be the haze in the body - a little more clarity would have knocked this up to a perfect score.

Nose is a generous hop punch; citrus and fruity, with notes of pine/grass. The taste follows suit with liberal amounts of hops and bitterness. Where HopSlam is hoppy but very sweet, The Oracle switches it around - the hops and bitterness are jacked up, while the sweetness takes more of a backseat. Either way, both beers make for an absolutely excellent taste. Hot damn does Bell's know how to make a tasty brew. The alcohol is completely hidden.

The mouthfeel is very good. Appropriate carbonation, and fairly smooth - medium bodied. I would have liked it if the body were a bit fuller or creamier, but I'm undoubtedly picking nits at this point.

Another phenomenal DIPA from Bell's. I must confess, this beer wasn't even on my radar - huge thanks to Buckeyenation for solving that problem! Very glad I had the opportunity to try this. I'm amazed at how well this had held up with age - I can only imagine what it must have been liked fresh.

 1,365 characters

Photo of BigDaddyWarbuxx
3.84/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

 152 characters

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.

 463 characters

Photo of HopHunter19
3.77/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

7/2/2015 bottle - this was at one of my favorite local stores and I'm not sure why the distribution took so long with this one, having taken 2 1/2 months to get from Michigan to SW Missouri.

A - nice golden, clear beer, white fluffy head that leaves nice lacing
S - Clean hoppy smell, pine, grapefruit, orange peel
T - Again this beer has a very clean taste, with the hops being mostly piney and grapefruit flavors, with some light fruits in there
M - light-medium, alc covered, aftertaste is piney hops
O - I didn't get as much fruit character as some people who have reviewed this seem to be getting, but at 2 1/2 months out I'd expect that this isn't a completely fair review. I'm not sure why it took 2 1/2 months for a beer like this to make the 12 hour drive from MI to MO, but either way I gotta knock a few points off for the slow distro. I hope it doesn't take 3 months to transport HopSlam to MO this winter!

 920 characters

Photo of krisandajt
4.82/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A very tasty treat courtesy of mymrnngjckt. You, sir, are the man.

Appearance: An easy pour yields a thick, clear copper colored beverage with a small amount of thin bubbly head. Though there isn't much head, what is there hangs out for a while and there is plenty of thick, sticky, soapy lacing.

Smell: Delicious hops. A nice, moderate hit of citrusy, bitter grapefruity hops. Not overpowering or offensive, but certainly not lacking either.

Taste: Wow. An initial hit of sweet that is immediately followed by the delicious bitter hops that were hinted at in the nose. It's amazing how clearly defined these two contrasting flavors are, and how well they compliment each other.

Mouthfeel: A full-bodied, smooth textured, viscous bit of grog. It almost feels like you need to chew this bad boy.

Drinkability: Hands down one of the best IPA's I have ever had. Definitely one of the brews worthy of the hype it has received. It's a fantastic blend of sweet and bitter, has a great mouthfeel, and it just down right good. Please sir...can I have some more?

 1,058 characters

Photo of MIbeer27
4.2/5  rDev +1%
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.

 1,053 characters

Photo of brewdoc75
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Looks pretty damn good in my Sam Adams pint glass. Beautiful deep orange with some slight touches of amber. Moderate carbonation feeds a lasting, just off-white head that seems to last quite a while. There is a ton of lace that follows down the sides of the glass.

S: Lots of nice aromas here. Strong fruitiness w/ pineapple jumping out at me. This is followed by a strong orange/tangerine aroma. Hints of pine round out the hop aromas. The malts are definitely here to play too with some rich caramel notes present. I do get a slight hit of booze in the end, but it isn't off-putting.

T: At first I get a ton of that fruity hop character that was noted in the nose. Plenty of pineapple, orange and tangerine in the flavor, but not quite as much as the aroma made it out to be. This is quickly followed by a strong, caramel flavor. Not toffee, but caramel. A significant sweetness from the malts is there, but it isn't too cloying. This is promptly followed by a strong piney, grapefruit rind bitterness. The beer does finish with some alcohol in the end. It isn't terrible, but definitely there. Overall very flavorful and hop forward with a significant caramel malt backbone. Definitely maltier than Hopslam. The booze comes out a little more too.

M: Medium to heavy bodied. A little heavier than some DIPAs. Feels smooth over the tongue. Carbonation is moderate at best. Maybe a little to sticky in the back of the throat at the end. The alcohol helps it dry out a little though.

D: This is a damn fine DIPA. The aroma is very nice, but for me the flavor didn't match up with it. The flavors were all nice (minus a little too much booze), but they were a little muted. I liked the balancing malts. They seemed to make the beer taste better in this cooler fall weather. I would definitely drink this again, but not over Hopslam or some other great DIPAs that are out.

 1,876 characters

Photo of neorunner
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured into Unibroue tulip glass. A cloudy tangerine color with 1/4 of light cream colored head. Almost no lacing with a small spotting of head left over at the end.

S- Mild floral aroma reminiscent of hopslam.

T- Slight hint of grain/malt hidden under the hops. Cream flavor gets cleaned off your pallet by the bitterness of the hops fairly quickly. Slight residual bitterness at the back of your tongue with the finish. Reminded me of a orange creamsicle / orange rind taste.

M- Body is light with a touch of cream, residual bitterness for a couple seconds after tasting.

D- I would drink another, but given the choice between this and a hopslam I would choose a hopslam.

 680 characters

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

A: Dark golden orange with a two finger off white head.

S: spicy, citrus hops. Grapefruit, pineapple maybe? Smells like Hopslam

T: wow, tastes like Hopslam minus the honey on the backend which makes the bitterness all the more powerful (and that's ok with me)

M: good carbonation with lots of bubbles. blends well with the bite

D: well, I drank 3 of these in one sitting so I'd say pretty drinkable. Although, it really puts your tongue through a workout. Would love to know the abv

Very delicious DIPA overall. I think I like Hopslam a little more but this is still a fantastic DIPA. Another amazing beer from Bell's. Very much recommend every hop lover try if you can get your hands on it.

 696 characters

Photo of glazeman
3.73/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at the Michigan Brewer's Guild tasting: reviewed from notes

A: Dark amber in color with an off white head that had excellent retention

S: This one smelled fairly medicinal to me, with the hop notes being some sort of mixture of floral grapes and a little bit of pine

T: The taste was a tad sweet to start and bitter at the finish. Not much citrus in this beer, but some pine was definitely noticeable. Not my favorite tasting DIPA.

M: A little above average for the category with a nice mouthfeel and appropriate level of carbonation.

D: Something about the taste, causes me to not really be attracted to this beer. It's somewhat plain and not as interesting as I would have liked. The flavors don't sit well enough on the tongue to have me wanting more. With all that said, it really isn't a bad beer though.

 828 characters

Photo of thetomG
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Above average appearance (but a little more clear than I prefer) - orangeish color, very nice ring of dense foam left around the glass after the initial head diminishes leaving behind a ton of sticky lacing. . Nice piney hop-filled aroma with a slight hint of citrusy fruit. Flavor is a good blend of bitter hop and malty flavors that try (but fail) to balance things out - the bitterness clearly wins out here, which takes away from the drinkability.

Good beer, but given the limited availability and my preference for other more readily available DIPAs, I'm not too likely to seek this one out all too often.

 611 characters

Photo of vic21234
4.06/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

 796 characters

Photo of K-Dog
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

 205 characters

Photo of endincolorado
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This beer's color is a clear, deep, orange-amber that lies beneath a big, frothy off-white head and leaves lasting sheets of white lace down the sides of the glass. The aroma is an almost-intoxicating blend of grapefruit, pine, and freshly cut grass. There's also some noticeable alcohol. Flavor is hoppy, resiny, with some finishing sweetness to balance the bitterness. Mouthfeel is very satisfying; medium-heavy with appropriate carbonation. Overall, I'm thankful this is a 12-oz bottle and can't imagine going through a 6 pack alone. A great example of the style, but the style is powerful and best in small doses.

 617 characters

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

Pours into a tulip a clear copper with two fingers of bubbly off white foam head. A thin layer of spotty lacing echos the beers decent. Nose is outstanding, a plethora of citrus, grapefruit, juicy pear, flowering hops with only a hint of malt underneath. Taste is excellent, bitter hop juices, pine resin, sweet fresh fruit with a mellow malt profile appearing in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium heavy, dry at the end but clean.
Overall, an absolutely incredible DIPA from Bell's, how they can brew two of the best beers in the style is remarkable. This beer doesn't need to rest on any hop-pun name, its quiet and quaint appearance is backed by its incredible taste. Only down-side: its even more rare and limited than Bells spring DIPA release, and because of this was limited to one bottle per customer where I picked it up, at 3.50. I consider myself lucky to get to try this beer, if you get the chance, it should be an easy decision.

 939 characters

Photo of roger617
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into snifter.

A: 4.0 Bright golden copper with 1 finger of white foamy head that reduces very slowly and leaves tons of lacing.
S: 4.0 Pine and malt forward with lingering floral notes.
T: 4.25 Slightly boozy, similar to smell I get pine first. This leaves a lingering citrus aftertaste, and a warmth that should come with a DIPA.
M: 3.75 Carbed well, smooth and silky. A little more carbed than I'm used to in this style, but it doesn't take anything away.
O: 4.0 This is a great brew, definitely what I expect out of a DIPA. Malty, boozy, pine and citrusy. I was able to snag 2 at a local rare beer release, I'd be happy to get a couple more!

 670 characters

Photo of output01x
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. capped bottle (Packaged On 08/12/11) into a snifter glass.

A strong pour yields a 1 1/2-finger cream-colored head that recedes after a few minutes to a thin, goopy coating and thick foam ring. The body is a clear orange amber with a good amount of small-rising carbonation bubbles. Great lacing clings to the sides of the glass throughout consumption.

Hops aromas explode out of the waning head. Grapefruit, mango, and orange peel aromas give the nose a very tropical character. Resinous pine and grassy hops aromas are also present.

The first sip delivers resinous pine and a sharp, oily citrus flavor with notes of orange peel and mango. As soon as the beer is swallowed, pine quickly moves in with a great bitterness. The bitterness never becomes drying and only lasts until a somewhat excessive alcohol burn develops in the back of the throat.

Medium bodied with good carbonation makes this a decently drinkable DIPA. The body is a little thick and slightly syrupy but is not sticky. The carbonation is not fizzy at all and can barely be detected.

 1,076 characters

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

Took some time off from drinking... great welcome back; The Oracle. Hopefully saw something good in my future!

A - Poured very nice amber color. Nice one finger off white head with nice lacing on the glass. Slight haze to it. Very good looking beer.

S - Very hopped up smell. Nice citrus notes, with pineapple standing out the most. Some pine hints mixed with caramel at the end.

T - Great flavors that contrast but balance each other out very well. Lots of hops upfront. Big bitterness with the pine and citrus flavors. Quickly turns sweet though with caramel malts. Bitterness lingers a bit, but malts help mellow out at the end.

M - Lighter body. Moderate carbonation. With the bitterness upfront still goes down smooth. Get some alcohol taste as it goes down the more it warms.

D - Couldn't wait to try this big DIPA. Didn't let me down. Wasn't really my favorite DIPA out there, as I can think of 3 or 4 that are better. However the contrast of flavors is done very well. Gives you an interesting and satisfying drink!

 1,028 characters

The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.16 out of 5 based on 2,696 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe