The Oracle | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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The OracleThe Oracle

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States | website

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

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Reviews: 772 | Ratings: 2,660
Photo of jimbus
4.63/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Passion fruit, tangerine, and some dank apricot. The IBUs and pine rip your teeth. Lacing like a boss, coats the glass thick as pond scum. Carbonation on point. I can feel my chest hair growing.

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Photo of RyanPoff
2.83/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up from Whole Foods.

A: A hazy apricot glow with about two fingers of off white head and excellent retention. Awesome.

S: Floral hops and quite a bit of sweetness/sugar. Almost like cotton candy or bubble gum. Could use a little more in your face hops at the front.

T: A lot of piney and citrus hops. A weird candy, gum taste with a weird astringency and sour aftertaste. i couldn't finish it.

M: Nothing was bad about it, but I hated the test.

I wouldn't buy this again. Maybe I got a bad bottle or something, but this just didn't do it for me at all.

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Photo of razorsdescent
4.73/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A beer I have been excited to try, poured from the bottle into my trusty tulip glass.

L - A wonderful golden orange color, with a slightly off white head. Wonderful champagne tight carbonation. Resinous lacing abounds. - 5

S - Pine, a hint of citrus, and some astringency, actually lots of astringency, especially as the beer warms. You know from the smell that it has some booze. This hits the low note for the beer, it is simply too astringent to be perfect - 4.5

T - the all important taste category. Pine dominates, and makes this a fairly bitter brew. There is some slight citrus and honey, I cannot tell if the latter is due to the 3 months between bottling and pouring, or not. You can taste the booze, but it is not overwhelming. The aftertaste is fairly boozy, and has slight hints of bubblegum - 4.75

F - This feels right. That tight carbonation, and resins which coat the tongue make for the perfect accompaniment. - 5

O - Bell's has hit a triple-run with this beer. While I don't like it as much as Hopslam (one of my true beer loves) or even Mars when it was released, it is a wonderful beer. If it had a less astringent smell, thus hitting that taste score one iota up, it would be another perfect beer from Bell's. I want to taste this fresher so I can figure out if the sweetness is inherent, or due to age. -4.75

Had prior to my last bottle of this year's Hopslam, and I feel it compares quite favorably.

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Photo of Tonyjenlasc
2.99/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 2.75

Bottled 7/10/15

Look - Awesome honey color, hazed
Smell - Floral, herbal, malty, dank
Taste - Overly floral/herbal. A little dank. Crazy bitter and astringent. Almost hard to drink.
Feel - Slightly creamy. Sticky and dry

Overall - This beer was a huge disappointment for me. Maybe I got to it past it's prime. It was kept cool though and figured the 10%ABV would make it hold up a little longer. Who knows. This one was tough to finish. Not my cup of tea.

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Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Speiglau glass.

Aroma is malt bomb, initially worried me that is was an out of date beer but its still less than 3 months old. Some herbal hop notes.

Taste is herbal lemon hops with a strong malt balance. You can really taste the 10% without the alcohol just from the malt.

Excellent beer, not easy drinking but fun to drink.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, dated 7/10/15

Hazy orange golden color, bright white head. Good head retention, and lots of lacing.. strong hoppy aroma of citrus zest. Mild biscuit malt flavor is dominated by the hop bitterness and flavor. Drier finish. a bit too bitter for me. Medium body, mouthfeel is a bit sticky.

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Photo of VTR
3.47/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I opened the bottle and started to pour. Before I could even see the beer in the glass the pine, grapefruit, resin notes all this my nose. Surely this can be a good sign because I enjoyed the scent while not being a huge IPA fan. First sip was a little harsh from maybe the alcohol or maybe the huge amount of hops, I don't know but it did get better on the second sip opening up with the pine and grapefruit. I read in one of the views below something to the effect of this is what hopslam wishes it was. Well I love Hopslam but found this hard to finish. The bitterness and to me lack of a big malt backbone made it somewhat not enjoyable. A few beers later the bitter taste was still lingering in my mouth. Some people will enjoy this IIPA but it was not for me.

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Photo of mtomlins
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours an orange-copper hue, short white head that falls quickish to a nice creamy color leaving excellent lacing. The nose hits with floral, spicy, pine tar hops, caramel malt and some alcohol. The taste is a whack-ton of piny, bitter, astringent hops as well as sweet, caramel malt...a palate wrecker. Creamy, round and a bit syrupy on the palate. High powered test, an agressive DIPA.

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Photo of creepinjeeper
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. Bottle poured into a snifter.
Look: Hazy orange cloudy. Fluffy off white head that settles into nice lacing.
Smell: Orange rind, honey, mango, pine.
Taste: Citrus, tropical, pine, little boozy finish.
Feel: Piney hop finish.
Overall: Everything a DIPA should be and more.

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Photo of HopHunter19
3.77/5  rDev -9.6%
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!

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Photo of Hop_God
3.99/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: golden to neon orange. Amber hue. thick creamy white bubbles

S: booze. Citrus. Fruity candy. Malt. Slight bitter hops . Resin

T: bitter up front malty back. Quite boozy. pine sol at the end also

F: boozy bite. Bitter palate

O: not bad. High booze. High piney bitterness

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Photo of neenerzig
4.29/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I was in the right place at the right time a few weeks ago to bet the word about one of a very few stores if not perhaps the only store in the greater Cleveland area that got 6 packs of this in when Bell's released their bottles of this this year. From what I understand this year is the first year that Bell's bottled this beer, and they only bottled very limited batches. Poured out of a 12 oz bottle into one of my tulip glasses, this beer pours a somewhat cloudy, hazy, medium golden/copper color with a nice white, fluffy looking head that is about an inch thick when poured and lots of little streams of bubbles rapidly and continuously rising to the beer's surface. The head eventually settles to a solid 1/2 of an inch thick with quite excellent retention and very nice lacing as well. Aromas of citrus, piney, and pineapple hops along with a nice toasted caramel malt presence. Has an exciting hop profile of citrus, mango, piney resin, and pineapple with perfect bitterness that is all followed with a nice, toasted caramel malt sweetness along with a good hint of honey. A very nice flavor balance, but the hop bitterness does dominate a bit here for sure. Has a slightly crisp, but really a mostly creamy, frothy, smooth, resinous, slightly oily and chewy, full bodied mouthfeel with fairly minimal carbonation, which is surprising given the massive streams of bubbles this beer had when it was first poured into the glass. Has a clean and dry finish and the bitterness really likes to linger here. And that's a very nice thing. A very good DIPA here from Bell's!


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Photo of HorseheadsHopHead
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 bottle into a stem glass. Packaged on 8/08/15.

LOOK: Cloudy golden orange with a thin white head.

SMELL: Grapefruit, orange, apricot, pine, caramel, toast, and booze.

TASTE: Thick, interestingly balanced, warm. Nice grapefruit, orange, lemon, apricot, and pine hops flavors balanced against sweet malt notes of caramel, toast, and honey. The alcohol is quite noticeable, too. Warm on the swallow.

FEEL: Full-bodied. Creamy carbonation. Nice and thick for an IPA, almost as thick as stout. Sticky hoppy aftertaste of grapefruit, orange peel, and pine.

TASTE: While I have had better double/triple IPAs, this is pretty damn tasty. Worth buying, for certain.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured on tap in a tulip, the beer is a hazy, caramel orange coloring with a tall, foamy, bubbly, off white head. Aromas of orange rind, pine resin, grapefruit, pineapple, subtle caramel, and a grassy highlight. Flavors are tart and bitter forward, heavy on grapefruit and tropical fruit, with a resinous pine pitch and bitter mossy undertone. Very balanced on a full, robust, dry body. Aftertaste is very dry and bitter, with a tropical fruit sweet blending with all the hops notes. Smooth and dry finish, with a resinous linger.

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Photo of tigg924
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours hazy, yellow-brown in color, with amazing one inch head. Wow what a hops assault. Bells is not fooling around here. Get pine and grapefruit hops with a bit of lemon. There might be a tad bit of malt, but there is not much to speak of. This is the definition of a sipper. Really good and hoppy beer. Could only do one in a session, but will get this again if I want a super hoppy beer.

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Photo of jooler
3.56/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Initial smell is of cigarettes and initial taste is sweet but extremely alcoholic. It is a good balance of hops an malts but the alcoholic boozy taste ruins it for me

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Photo of morimech
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

07/10/15 Bottle date so getting a little old.

Hazy orange color with two fingers of head that settled to a thin cap. Heavy lacing is left down the glass during consumption. Sure is a looker.

Good hoppy aroma of citrus. Notes of orange, grapefruit, and possibly pineapple. There is a malty component that gives a bit of a toffee note.

The hops are strong in the flavor. I get a lot of orange, little bit of grapefruit, pineapple, tropical fruit like mango or passion fruit. Enough malt sweetness is present to not make this a punishing bitter DIPA and one dimensional.

Lovely body and carbonation. Full body and luscious texture.

Very enjoyable DIPA that I find harder and harder to enjoy. I liked the hop choices and the little bit of malt that dampens the massive bitterness.

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Photo of mabermud
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: Opaque, dark orange body. Fine, puffy, white head. Stickier lacing than most. The sun does not penetrate this fine beverage. Extremely attractive.
Smell: Sweetened and balanced tropical fruit with citrus, plus a good dose of pine.
Taste: Some sharp orange and grapefruit hops. Nice and balanced flavor. For me, this has a longer finish.
Feel: Sincere. Silky or creamy? Chewy ending. I like it.

Overall - Nice hop foundation. This beer looks awesome and also has a nice chewy and smooth fell in the mouth. This is one I would have again. Not bad at all.

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Photo of ARoman
3.69/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. The aroma is a bright toffee, tropical, floral citrus blend with an undertones of light woody, alcohol, and burnt molasses; not too similar from a fresh barleywine. It pours a murky pale orange with a white, small suds, filmy head that has good retention and lace. It's highly bitter with a medium citrus sweet, but the bitterness dampens with warmth. The texture is chewy, sticky, and a bit syrupy with a fuzzy carbonation and a full body. The palate contains a strong grain character with a burnt quality as well as bitter citrus, wax, floral, and a strengthening caramel note late. The finish is initially crisp zippy with a bread crust quality although it loses this edge with warnth and turns smooth and syrupy. There's a resinous and waxy, cloying aftertaste with notes of bitter cough medicine and a strong bitter floral; overall it's aftertaste is prominent and lingering. This definitely qualifies as a west coast palate wrecker, and best served at cellar temp.

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Photo of Taybeh
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle (bottled 7/10) into a Bell's snifter

a: golden apricot with a little haze and a nice 1 finger creamy that sticks around alright. great lacing.
s: some clovery floral notes, sweet mandarin oranges, caramel & honey, little edge of pine. fairly sweet (which I don't usually like, but this I like a lot)
t & m: like the nose, but more towards the floral and pine side of things than the juicy fruit. This is potent and a little boozy, very warming. really nice bitterness that lingers and is a very pleaseant complement to how sweet everything seems initially.

i prefer this one to love the label

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Photo of VikingBeer
4.24/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle, poured into a tulip and consumed around 58-60┬░ F.

Appetizing in appearance, with a nice fluffy and persistent white head, and lacing that easily lasts the time it takes to consume the beer.

Smell is a blast of roses, hibiscus, tangerines, grass, hints of pine, white and black pepper, seven-grain crackers, and a whiff of honey and caramel.

Upfront, the taste is a war between flowery, piney, peppery, and tangerine-kissed hops and those aforementioned cracker-esque malts. A whiff of booziness appears on the mid-palate, along with more pepper, pine and juniper, and a dry, toasty malt flavor reminiscent of sprouted-grain bread. Finish is fairly dry, with herbal, evergreen hop flavors leading, if slightly, malty notes of toasted walnuts, wheat bread, and buckwheat honey. Let this beer warm well before serving, sip slowly, and revel in delightfully old-school flavors done very well, indeed.

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Photo of Jchavez111
3.12/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

The initial taste is everything you would expect from a boozy double IPA from Bells. It has a very satisfying bitterness and full-flavored kick at the beginning but what kills it for me is the aftertaste. The bitterness lingers for a much longer time than preferred. I wouldn't buy this beer again solely due to the ever-lasting aftertaste.

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Photo of chinchill
3.73/5  rDev -10.6%
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 rudzud
3.97/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received as an extra in a trade, poured into my Duvel tulip. Fresh bottle

A - Pours a hazy golden orange hue with a nice one finger creamy white head that fades slowly to leave sticky lacing and a thin blanket.

S - Aromas of sweeter caramel malts, little bit of citrus rind and a little bit of pine resin.

T - Taste is similar to the nose. Lots of bitter pine, loads of malts here along with some sweetness. The citrus is subdued as this is mostly a pine sap bomb. Fair amount of alcohol on the pallet too. Very reminiscent of DFH 120.

M - Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, a bit sticky and hot from the ABV, but it still isn't that bad.

O - Overall, this certainly is how big DIPAs were 5+ years ago. Malty and straight up bitter. That being said with advancements in hops this flavour profile is really starting to be left behind in the dust of big fruity DIPAs. Still though, for what it is this isn't a bad beer.

Serving Type: Bottle

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Photo of Tripel_Threat
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle to pint glass. Nice, thick and rich soapy head appears and stays, leaving tick amounts of lacing behind. The aroma is of a freshly opened can of mandarin oranges in heavy syrup poured over freshly cut grass. More sweet than floral. Taste is smooth and the ABV is well hidden, although there is some warmth. A bite of pine resin, with a honey smoothness in taste and feel. One to have again and again.

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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.17 out of 5 based on 2,660 ratings.
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