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
Reviews:
786
Ratings:
2,712
Avg:
4.16
pDev:
10.58%
 
 
Wants:
450
Gots:
415
For Trade:
7
User Reviews
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Reviews: 786 | Ratings: 2,712
Photo of PorterLambic
3.96/5  rDev -4.8%
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 -21.6%
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 beatenbyjacks
4/5  rDev -3.8%

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%

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%
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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Photo of arizcards
4.21/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a sixer from Total Wine at the end of August for $17.99. Bottled. on 8/8/14.

Beer poured orange with a good white head that is leaving some lacing behind.

Nose is pungent with citrusy hops.

Taste is grapefruit rind and pine. Malt base has to be big but there must be a boat load of alpha hops as this is an abrasive bitter beer true to the west coast style. Finish is pretty dry.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied but relatively speaking has good carbonation as feels like a nice fresh ipa.

Overall this is a very smackable brew that is very true to the west coast style. Very nice!

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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 tillmac62
4.02/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

BOD 8/8/14. Pours a clear light amber with a touch of dark ruby making it a bit darker than golden. Very nice head with exceptional lacing and retention. Very nice nose of pine, grapefruit, tropical and a somewhat dank hop note over a caramel sweetness that also has a hint of spice. Medium body with a rich oily slick texture. Above average carbonation with a nice effervescent finish. The flavor profile is complex and fairly well balanced given the 10% alcohol content. It begins as a blend of hop flavors, mostly dank with grapefruit and pine notes, that slowly yield to the tropicals as a blended biscuit/caramel sweetness sneaks in. The sweetness fades into a mild bitterness which has a dank and slightly spicy note. As the bitterness fades, alcohol is noted, but not excessively so. The finish is slightly sweet with a nice alcohol burn on the back of the throat. Better than the Mars offering which lacks balance and fails to cover the alcohol well.

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Photo of BeerDawgs
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

A 12oz bottle with a bottled on date of 8.29.14. Picked up at Greens on Buford Hwy Sep 2014 with a 2 bottle limit

A - Bronze and golden, 1 finger of head, sticky lace all over the glass. This is the perfect example of an IPA!

A - Citrus and piny hops. Huge aroma. Nice

T - Hoppy! Bitter, and citrus evenly balanced. Bitter aftertaste, but nothing like west coast. Incredibly delicious

M - Light bodied, smooth

O - An Awesome DIPA. Bells knows IPAs. Period. Well done! Drink it if you can find it

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Photo of cjgiant
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review after initial rating (fall, 2013:4.25 straight rating).
Bottle date 08/08/2014:
I had this about a year ago and really enjoyed it. I was still experiencing the cast array of good craft beers, was more of a ticker, and figured I'd be able to get it more often (I had yet to really understand seasonal brews). I can't believe I turned down a chance back then to get more of it.
Another revisit in Aug 2015 of bottle dated 7/10, adding category ratings.

A: almost perfect translucent-to-hazy golden orange. Beautiful foamy head grows nicely and sticks around. The lacing is copious on this one.

S: nose is a tad grainy, but sweetness is honey in nature. I actually expected more hops in the nose, but maybe it's a bit lost after 2 months. What I get is more floral than fruity, more meadow than farm, but distinguishing the scents is hard (3.75)
2nd revisit: with some warmth I get some tropical notes and something like honeydew.

T: classic grapefruit rind and pine IPA to me. Bitter from the get go, even for a DIPA. There is an underlying sweetness that I usually like more up front, but works for me in this beer just fine. The sweetness is more raw sugar-based to me than any beer I've had before, but again, isn't the focus of the taste. This is more dry hop-bomb, west coast-ish in nature. The combination maybe brings some tropical hints, but I feel I am stretching a bit on this. (4.25-4.5)
2nd re-visit: when colder, the sweetness almost overwhelms. At a more proper temp the grapefruit rind comes out, but the tropical notes are there a it more obvious than I indicated before.

M: very smooth, carbonation obvious in appearance is just there to enhance otherwise dry feel. Body is medium, alcohol is pretty well hidden (4.75)
2nd revisit: the alcohol heat is a bit heavier than I noticed before.

O: this did live up to my anticipation even if it didn't exceed it. Given how that usually works, that's a win. A bit more bitterness than I expected (I really didn't recall the taste profile, just that I liked it), but well done to me as I have grown away from this profile over the year. (4.5)

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Photo of orcrist_cleaver
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Medium golden amber to lighter orange hazy tint. Superior 2 finger, foam like head that last 5+minutes and contributes good lacing.

S: Very enticing blend of sour and sweet. Lots of tropical fruit. Guava pound cake, pineapple, orange. Some earthy and mildew musk.

M: Fuller bodied, quite dry, medium carbonation. Warming alcohol

T: Pine needles, caramel, bready malt, grapefruit, citrus pith. Good bitter punch, mostly herbal. Brandy-like alcohol components, fully fermented apricots and pear

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Photo of humuloner22
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

This is a very nice offering from Bell's. Its not really like Hopslam, but it is very similar in respect to Two Hearted. I would say this is more like TH in that its malty, balanced, not overly sweet, but more boozy. Which you would expect from the abv.

Pours: Dark amber with some head in the aggressive pour, but it settles to virtually no lacing. Which based upon the abv and style is expected.

Aroma: Hoppy, boozy, some sweet maltiness. This is not a beer that is outstanding from the rest, but it is very solid. It might be confused with being too pedestrian, but I find it so well balanced that is why people would think in this regard.

Taste: Sweetness, piney, tropical and floral hops dominate ,but you get a good malt balance going on. Its very similar to Mars, I imagine they follow a similar recipe. My only complaint is that it does have a fair amount of alcohol in the taste. Not that this is a bad thing but its not one you can drink more than two of in a night.

Overall: I don't think this is a true west coast style DIPA, but I do think it is somewhat true to the style with a mid-west interpretation. Some have said its pretty mundane, but I think that is just people who have had too many Hop bombs this year. I felt this one was well balanced and enjoyable.

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.71/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Deep golden to amber in color with a bit of haziness. A fingernail of white foam rests on top. Brussels lacing. Nice,inviting citrus and tropical hop profile. There is a deep bitter flavor with abundant citrus hops and some tropical hop notes. The citrus notes are very heavy and leave little room for light malt backbone. This is an assault on your tastebuds. The mouth is a bit sticky and chewy,but considering the strength it is actually pretty easy going.

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Photo of Roguer
3.24/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.25

Slightly hazy, just enough to keep it from transparency. Orange amber brew topped by a nice flat white head with decent retention, and very nice lacing.

Huge caramel malt and brown sugar aroma, with a slight hint of stale cardboard sneaking in. Bottled 48 days ago, so freshness really shouldn't be that big a factor.

Flavor follows: big, malty DIPA, with a huge emphasis on caramel (and pale) malts, a touch of brown sugar, straw, and grainy bread. Beer is hugely bitter with little in the way of hop flavor. Pine definitely stands out, and some non-specific citric acid. It doesn't really hit as stale; it hits as drily malty.

Mouthfeel is fine; beer is very lively, with little sting, and despite the very high ABV, there's only a tinge of heat on the very back-end.

I don't quite get the hype. It's impressively bitter, and some malt-forward DIPAs work out well, but this one doesn't have enough sweetness to carry that task.

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Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%

spicy floral hop aromas, very hoppy with both spicy and bitter hop elements – obviously hopped in multiple stages. Like many American IPAs and what you would expect from a double IPA, the hops really dominate but the malt and the alcohol provide a nice balance. Bells demonstrates how to do a super hoppy beer – it has intense bitterness and almost comes off as an elixir with the alcohol almost adding to the bitterness – this is probably not a session beer but would make a nice aperitif beer for before or after dinner.

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Photo of spacebear09
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Appearance- Golden, well carbonated brew with a small head but good lacing

Smell- Cotton candy, pineapple

Taste- Massive grapefruit, lemon, mango, finishes very dry and slightly astringent. Cloying sweetness and a little pill bitterness. Biscuity malt profile that is barely detectable.

Mouthfeel- Crisp and tangy

Overall- Good but not my favorite.

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Photo of denver10
3.15/5  rDev -24.3%

Pours gold with a white head. Aroma of some biscuit, honey and alcohol hit first, grapefruit, its rind, and pine follows. Flavor follows suit but with a mellow sweetness I did not detect from the aroma. As someone who is not a fan of alcohol showing itself in his hoppy beers, not excited at the heat display here. A crisp, creamy mouthfeel. Overall, the heat to this one really holds me back from being able to get too into this but it also wasn't enough to totally ruin it for me either. Not one I would revisit.

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Photo of pkalix
3.96/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

there is no smell or aroma that I can detect....
glad it's a 12oz'er....... so tired of these "bombers" I have to finish even after they are warm.
lots o' malt, biscuit, honey. lots o' bitterness.... typical 10% IPA... I believe I have met the best and there is nothing to get better. this one is pretty good. nothing other than that which is "special" to report... Bell's has done better...

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Photo of McSmack
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Back with the Oracle review from Bell's. A couple days ago I reviewed the Planet Series "Mars". Both Mars and Oracle are DIPAs. Whereas Mars has a heavy malty profile that is light on the hops, the Oracle does a great job balancing the hops creating a great drinking beer. The Oracle does a good job of hiding the 10% abv. I prefer the Oracle style of DIPA over the Mars. But try them both to see for yourselves.

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Photo of FanofHefe
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip. Slightly hazy yellow/orange body. Two finger off-white head that fades to a nice cap fairly quickly with bit of lacing.

The first aroma is tropical but it fades to a more pine - grassy note. Light amount of sweet malt aroma.

The flavor is very pine hop forward, opposite of my experience with the aroma. Sweet finish that features the tropical hop and malt flavors.

Medium thickness in the mouthfeel with only a slight notice of the alcohol. Rock solid DIPA that I'm glad to have finally tasted.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

appearance: slightly hazy amber. Nice thick, messy eggshell head and lacing.
smell: Deep, rich, citrusy with a hint of sweetness. Big redolent nose.
taste: Mostly dry, citrusy hops. Sharply bitter finish.
overall: Very nice indeed.

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Photo of Hop-Droppen-Roll
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

A hazy orange yellow - the lazing as of yet is a unique bubbly film that completely consumes the entire surface area of the inch left of glass, save for the ver lip itself. The nose gets me excited, as it reminds me of the time I got to try Double Jack and Pliny... yet a more talented reviewer could go into more detail. The best I can do is that it's boozy and hoppy - maybe that's indicative of some less desireable traits - and I'll need to come forth and say outright that I did precede this glass with a glass of Mars, which I find to be superior - but this is still fantastic. Just a little less refined. On the tongue there is pine and citrus - but mostly it's boozy bitterness. I'm not complaining - I dig these characteristics - but it could be a little more balanced.

Overall this is a terrific beer. Worth the bucks, but if it were available year-round, I would rarely pick it up. On this rotating schedule though, I'll likely be picking up one six-pack per year.

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Photo of avalon07
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had an orange color and a slightly hazy texture. There was an inch and a half, foamy, fairly long-lasting head.

S: A pretty good aroma of hops, pine, and some malt, but mostly hops.

T: Like the smell, the taste had a big hops presence, but also some caramel, pine, and malt. Not a bad flavor, but the hops content is a bit overwhelming, leaving a powerful bitterness. Could have been taken down a notch.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a very bitter finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This is an uneven beer, mainly due to the flavor. Not bad, but could have been better.

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Photo of ocelot2500
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Pours a clear golden orange with a tight white head that leaves chunks of lacing.

Smells of bright, juicy hops.

Tastes of big, bright hops with a solid malt base. Hops lead off with notes of grapefruit, mango, and pineapple. Plenty of pine and bitterness as well. Malts come next with caramel sweetness and toasted bread. Enough sweetness to balance it out. Finishes with a bitter touch of pine hops.

Mouthfeel is medium-full with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a tasty DIPA and stands up with some of the best out there.

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Photo of Wobbly
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%

I found this beer to be a bit too much, even for this style. It lakes the balance and nuance of other IPA's. I prefer Bell's new release, Mars, to this for sure. Still worth trying.

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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.16 out of 5 based on 2,712 ratings.
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