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

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The OracleThe Oracle
BA SCORE
4.16/5
Exceptional
The OracleThe Oracle
BEER INFO

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

Style: American 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.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#3,117
Reviews:
815
Ratings:
2,829
pDev:
10.58%
 
 
Wants:
453
Gots:
447
Trade:
7
 
User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 815 | Ratings: 2,829
Photo of BenHoppy
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The best DIPA I have had in a long while. Exactly how I want my DIPA to be strong and sweet with flavors of grapefruit rind, pine resin, and tree sap. Alcohol goes unnoticed til the end and super smooth with a nice tongue stringing hop bite. Forget Hop Slam as this is Bells finest as it very much compares to Stone as a perfect example of an amazing west coast DIPA.

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

Appearance: pretty looking beer; nice burnt orange, coppery color; pretty hazy; foamy white head that leaves little pillows over the top (pretty good retention)

Aroma: big time citrus-orange, grapefruit, hint of lime; hoppy; pine; smells juicy

Taste: starts with a little sweetness and some good citrus flavors; a decent grain bill moves in, balanced by some hops and pine; then hops and pine resin completely take over, with a hint of grapefruit rind; the aftertaste is just one long hop/pine bite

Mouthfeel: medium-bodied; pretty smooth; juicy; a little clingy at the end

Overall Impression: thanks to the beer guy at Horrack’s for letting me know you had this behind the counter!; dang, this is a good beer; I like this guy a lot; it gives Hopslam a run for its money for sure…I would really like to do a side-by-side comparison; really nice and really drinkable (which is dangerous at 10%)

From notes taken on 8/31/2013

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Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the truly ancient bottle, it pours a hazy amber with a modest head that does last a bit, reducing to a thin layer eventually. Some lacing. The nose is tickled by the piney hops, while the mouth is assaulted by the hop forward flavor. I agree that it is a west coast style IPA!

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Photo of Tone
4.04/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy maize color. 2/3 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of strong spicy hops, slight earthy malt, pale malt, hint of sweet malt, alcohol, hint of tea, and a hint of spice. Mouth feel is sharp and clean, with an average carbonation level. Fits the style of an American Double / Imperial IPA. Tastes of strong spicy hops, alcohol, sweet malt, hint of piney hops, tea, hint of resin, and slight spice. Overall, great appearance, good aroma, body, and complexity, but the blend is too bitter.

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Photo of ZebulonXZogg
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Summer release, undated bottle. Pours a cloudy copper color with an off white head that receded quickly leaving a nicely laced glass.
Aroma is is quite fruity, with a hint of bread. Did I mention hops?
Alcohol is not really noticeable in the aroma of taste, but you feel it after 6 ounces. Nonetheless, it's a pretty easy drinker.
Overall, a very nice brew, it's a bit pricey here, so I'll probably let someone else buy the bottle I might have bought.

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Photo of Harrison8
4.16/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky burnt-orange with a finger of white head. Head is foamy and retains reasonably well, with good lacing that follows. Aroma is citrus, dank, and resin hops with rich biscuit and bready malts. Very substantial aroma. Flavor profile is citrus, dank, and resin hops with more biscuit and bread malts. Very hearty, with the resin aroma and flavor sticking around long after a sip. Mouth feel is thick, with some particulate/graininess. Overall, a great filling, resiny DIPA. It smells and tastes sticky, with loads of hops that somehow remain balanced.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip.

L: Pours a cloudy dark golden copper color... cloudy with two fingers of white foamy head. Great lacing.

S: Hops! Bitter and dank... pine and pineapple... a bit of citrus.

T/F: Rich and full bodied... lots of bready malt character with a bitter palate wrecking hop punch. Lots of evergreens and citrus. Peppercorns and grapefruit. A bit of pineapple mixed in. Finish is dry and sticky.

O: A fantastic DIPA from Bell's. Very intense and bitter hops... but rich and full at the same time. Great all around brew.

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Photo of Strix
3.6/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy yellow orange, decent initial head that fades to nothing.

Very floral nose, some citrus and pine.

A hint of what less-fresh hopslam tastes like, plus more citrus, pine and even belgian influences.

I feel like this is weighed down, just too much going on, lacking balance and drinkability. Rare miss for me from Bell's.

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Photo of iridius
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Smooth and tasty, but not exactly memorable. I drank it out of the bottle so maybe it's my fault, that's why it still gets a 4, but it's a bit expensive for that. I'd have it again, for sure, but there are a lot of great IPAs to try before then.

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Photo of patre_tim
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Golden and hazy with some transparency, large, fast rising bubbles, and topped with 2 fingers of yellowish head.

Smells of ruby red grapefruit, mango, orange candy, and lead pencil shavings.

Big grapefruit pith, fruity peaches, spruce needles, pencil shavings, big and dull bitterness which lingers on the tongue.

Slightly weighty body with solid, fine, foamy, carbonation. Alcohol is really well hidden.

At moments I get hints of Pliny the Elder, but with a weightier body. Really well done brew. Its growing on me with each sip. Got at Opperman's Cork and Ale in Saginaw, where Kurt was gracious to let me get it out of the back cellar, even though he was saving it for himself. Thanks Bro! Now I am drinking it in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where I carried it after a long haul of a flight. Drank Nov 3rd, 2016.

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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 Chestertonian82
3.08/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The primary note here is...alcohol. Its burn overwhelms almost every other flavor. A disappointing offering from an excellent brewery. (I'm not much of an oracle, but I prophesy that I won't be buying this again.)

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Photo of woemad
3.59/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from a box from Gopens44 that was mostly VA beers, but obviously with a couple MI beers as well. Bottled-on stamp is smudged-it was bottled on the 16th, this year, but what month is unclear. I've heard a lot of good things about this beer on NBS.

Poured into a Mad Bomber IPA glass, this was a chill-hazed, slightly sedimentary dark golden amber color, with a big, creamy white head that stuck around for a while and left all sorts of lace.

Piney and peppery nose to this. Also a big, caramelly malt backbone. I've read that Bell's calls this a Northwest style DIPA. While it smells good, I wouldn't characterize it as anything other than a Midwest style DIPA, with what I tend to think of as the bigger malt backbone that the latter entails.

Bitter, piney hop flavor up front. That aspect transitions to a big, malty backbone, without a whole lot of in between. This strikes me more as a Midwest/ East Coast IPA that's been shorn of more citrusy hop flavor. It's good, but rather one dimensional. The high level of alcohol does not come through in the taste at all.

Medium bodied, with an oily, resiny mouthfeel.

Not a bad beer, but a a bit limiting, flavor-wise.

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Photo of KomodoDragon
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Hazy amber brew. Little head.

Aroma bursts from this beer, right at initial pour. You can smell it at an arm length away. Now what is it? Lots of hops, Sugary caramel sweetness and alcohol. Some ripe melon.

Sweet scotchiness and breadiness in the flavor, followed by some citrus accompanying an alcohol burn. Very smooth and slick, increasingly so as it warms. . Almost flat, but such a heavy body that it embraces the cocktail nature.

Enjoyable big boy brew. Thanks Bells

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice pale yellow gold with a tall thick white head that leaves lace for days.

Smells bright with fresh citrus and tropical fruit notes, backed by whole grain bread notes and a floral bouquet.

Sweet bread notes balanced by bitter citrus lemon and grapefruit. It has some nice sweet stone fruit notes - peach. It finishes dry with slight oak notes.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The pour was amber in color, with hazy body, and a good sized, two finger thick head. The aroma was very potent, even at an arm's length. Upon bringing the glass to the nose, I could smell lots of grapefruit, pineapple, and melon. There was also some hay in addition to the tropical fruits. The first sip was was quite bit more bitter than I was expecting, proving flavors of grapefruit pith, bitter orange, and pine. There was a good deal of malt sweetness, and alcohol lurking behind the hop assault. This was a thick, chewy DIPA, providing a hefty mouthfeel. Definitely a DIPA made for sipping.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A deep metallic gold. Looks really thick good texture.

Nice malty backbone with a sweetness to the smell. Pine hop notes with a bit of orange. It's a good smell and mix.

The taste has the same notes but is much stronger. Slight fruity booze note. Grapefruit and light pine notes. But overall it's sweet.

Heavy body and a little but much less than you expect. Biting carbonation.

A pretty good and intense beer if that's your thing. Definitely worth a taste.

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Photo of beergoot
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy, yellow-orange body topped with a thick, sticky, soapy head; sheets of lacing adhering to the glass. Heavy pine sap aroma mixed with some citrus notes; mild bread crust. Bitter and pine-like flavor quickly followed up with a heavy grain flavor; hop bitterness lingers throughout; old citrus rinds. Heavy body; lots of residual sugars for body; prickly on the palate; finishes with an alcohol dryness.

Malty, bitter, with an almost chewy mouthfeel aptly describes this beer. One won't find any fruity sweetness in the taste or aroma here. In many ways, this comes across like an extremely hopped-up barleywine.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.56/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle dated 7/26/16. Pours hazy dark golden orange with a big rocky white head that retains well and leaves some lacing.

The aroma is sweet caramel malt and fruit with piney hops and some fusel alcohol.

The flavor is sweet caramel and toffee malt with some fruit that quickly gives way to a big harsh piney resiny hop bitterness with some noticeable alcohol. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, I was hoping for Hopslam but too much harsh alcohol and bitterness.

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Photo of spacecake9
3.56/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my Werk Force snifter.
A - Pours an opaque orange with a small white head.
S - Almost no aroma at all, maybe just a little malt.
T - First you get caramel malt sweetness and then the bitterness slams you. If you are looking for juicy, don't come here.
M - Soft and creamy, carbonation seems lower than average. Bitterness lingers.
O - I wanted to try this and was glad to find a single bottle. The bitterness really dominates. Not bad but I would not buy again.

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Photo of CHickman
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours cloudy dark gold color which makes it look almost copper colored, with a 2 finger foamy white head that was full of big bubbles that stuck to the glass and didn't budge for a few minutes, dissipating very slowly and leaving excellent foamy lacing coating the sides and rings as it went down.

Smells of pineapple, orange peel, tangerine, fresh citrus hops, tropical fruit, graham cracker, toasted grains, pepper, coriander and other peppery spices, piney hops/pine cone, fresh cut grass, lemon zest and sweetness like brown sugar or burnt French toast. Very hoppy with that dry hopped impression to me.

Tastes like it smells with strong citrus notes and a caramel/toffee sweetness up front that settles in with grapefruit, orange peel, tangerine, fresh wet citrus hops, tropical fruit, pineapple, mango, tobacco, and a bunch of spices such as white pepper, coriander, brown sugar and cinnamon. The next wave is all malt with buttery biscuit, Ritz crackers, graham cracker, toasted grains, wheat, fresh cut grass, piney hops and light earthy notes. Wonderfully complex with hints of booze peeking through, this was balanced and went down easier than it should have.

Mouthfeel is creamy and almost slick with a medium body, average to light carbonation, lots of bready, wheat notes and then a wave of hoppy sweetness which is slightly bitter, lightly spiced and on the dry side as the hoppy sweetness kicks in one last time before trailing off grainy with a lingering earthy flavor (like dry leaves for lack of a better description).

Overall a very enjoyable beer that is sturdy and almost macho in it's balance. The big malt base props this up and allows the grains to take center stage in some sips, allowing this hoppy DIPA to come off big and yet somewhat easy to drink.

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Photo of seedyone
3.97/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Meh! As a non-believer in the Church of the IPA, my skepticism remains intact. Looking to this cocoction as a redeemer due to the ABV (10.4%) I thought I'd found a kindered spirit. But alas, 'twas not to be.

Just another jacked up charlatan. Another "medicine show".

Sure, there's something there...but it all seems so forced. Thr term "beating a dead horse"...as poitically incorrect as it is in any context, is all I've got. THAT'S how desperate I feel.

What is this? Who think's it's grand? How am I?

I'm sure there are proponents & they have their due, but...as a big admirer of Bells's other edeavores, this escapes me.

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Photo of rand
2.8/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

12 oz bottle to tulip glass

Gorgeous copper-tan appearance, a big fluffy head never fully recedes and completely coats the glass with lacing.

Big, bold, sharp aromas. Notes of ripe citrus, orange rind and pine resin up against a giant malt backbone - sugary and grainy. All ushered by ample alcohol volatiles.

Aggressively hop-forward on the palate. Sharp, bitter, rough. After an onslaught of astringent hops, treacly malt syrup rolls in upon a vain attempt to balance. Lots of earthy tea-like residuals linger, along with hot booze. Finishes with a long close, and a coating of bitter residual between sips. The brew is a chore to drink.

A West Coast IPA this is not. Not even close. This is a hoppy barleywine, and not very good one at that. This confirms my suspicion of East Coast bias (or east of the West Coast bias) on this site - this beer has higher scores than a lot of local IPA's that blow this out of the water on every level.

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Photo of michiganmatt
3.87/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: A golden-orange appearance, fairly clear with a tad bit of haze. Lots of visible carbonation bubbles rising up the beer. A nice 2/3 finger of head which seems to stay around for a while.

S: Pine resin aromas, a bit of fruit.

T: Major pine and resin hops dominate. Hints of fruit, maybe of the tropical variety.

F: Lots of carbonation, fairly high level of bitterness. Fairly full bodied.

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Photo of Pray_For_Mojo
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: a nice hazy golden, with a light tan head of fine silky bubbles.

Aroma: sweet malt, light. Aroma indicates this will be a sweet(er) beer.

Flavor: sweet malt upfront, which leans toward the sweet side, but the hops just keep sticking around to balance it, and finish spicy and dry. The alcohol is well hidden . No alcohol flavor or heat.

Mouthfeel: medium, nearly spot on. You could easily put back more than one.

Overall: a tale of two beers: the initial flavor is a malt-heavy mess, but the 2nd act is a hop forward and spicy west coast IPA. I compared this beer side by side to Sixpoint Puff. Bells' is much better.

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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 4.16 out of 5 with 2,829 ratings