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: 753 | Ratings: 2,604
Photo of peabody
3.95/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Using my Champaign Velvet glass this one pours out an amber yellow with 1/2 finger of white suds that stick around for a while. Lacing for sure here.
Smell is citrusy and mellow. Hints of apricot and orange peel with a freshly sliced grapefruit thrown in there for good measure.
Taste is a bit of a letdown from the smell. It's a watery mess of bitterness without all the good fruityness of other DIPA's. The only good thing is with this one you can't taste the alcohol.'
Mouthfeel is very clean after the bitterness goes away. Again, no alcohol at all here. Can't feel it, can't taste it and def. can't believe it's a 10.40 abv beer.
Drinkability is pretty good. If this one had as much flavor as it has aroma this one would rule the roost.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
2.49/5  rDev -40.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Filtered watered down orange juice to me peepers. Oily legs stand atop some bubbly suds that sit along the outer edges. I'm a sucker for a nice orange colored IPA.

Somewhat of an effort to pull much of a smell from what I anticipated to be quite a delicious smelling beer. Soapy orange, touch of pine, and a boozy quality that isn't quite anticipatory. Surprised at the lack of depth and complexity, especially considering this should be fresh. this hot...and not in a good way. This tastes like vodka with a faint twist of citrus. The herbal bitterness that follows overwhelms the back end of leaves nearly no sense of any citric hop presence. I am at a loss here.

Oily and nearly flat due to the low carbonation and heavy body.

Drinkability? Don't talk about drinkability? Drinkability? For the price of this beer and the pedigree of Bell's Two Hearted and HopSlam, both delicious beers, this is a messy, messy, messy beer. Swing and a miss.

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

A: Hazy burnt auburn

S: Orange peel, white flowers, pine tree

T: Peaches & honey with floral hop notes, dried herb tones and ginger on the back end

M: Well balanced for a DIPA, not too sweet and dry, bitter hops linger

D: Quite good. Not entusiastic about the pricetag on the beer, plenty of IPA's out there that do the job for less but a nice beer nonetheless.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.92/5  rDev -6%
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.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

$3.20 for a 12oz single @ Jacks. No ingredients listed on the website. OG=1.088. Batch 9901. "Your Bell's The Oracle DIPA Ale was packaged on August 23, 2010". 10.0% ABV per the bottle.

Pours out to a clear medium amber, forming a nice yellow head with excellent retention and one solid sheet of sticky lace. Carbonation is mild to moderate. Minimal sediment in the bottle. The aroma is of resinous sticky fruity piney hops (I'm guessing Simcoe and Amarillo) sitting on top of a big malt body with fruity esters (grapefruit, pineapple) with a faint suggestion of strawberry bubblegum. The mouthfeel is soft, with a big dense syrupy body. The taste is a recap of the aroma, big on both malt and hops, akin to an bigger bodied Arrogant Bastard or a good malty DIPA. Mild fruity bubblegum which sets itself apart from other DIPA's. Bitterness is firm and of the pine/grapefruit pith variety, lingering on the tongue for quite a while in the aftertaste. Peppery wave of alcohol warms the gullet.

Kind of a new style for Bell's, taking on the West Coast hop monsters DIPA (Stone/Lagunitas) and doing well. Compared to Two-Hearted and Hop Wallop, this is more aggressive and bitter. I prefer both of those beers to this, but it's a good brew for what it's going for and I'm glad to see Bell's do something like this. At $3.20/bottle, the other guys are a better deal, but it's still a damn good beer.

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Photo of detlefchef
3.92/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark orange-brown color with full but not overdone head. Wouldn't mind a bit more clarity though.

At very first smell, I didn't get much hops but subsequently gave off nice piny and candied pineapple aromas.

Lot's of booze on the palate and a bit disjointed. Just seems like a lot going on without much holding it together. Nice, juicy finish but just seems sort of blown out. Keep in mind, fair or not, I came in expecting something more special. Tasted blind, I may have thought is was good enough.

For the level of booze, however, it does drink pretty easily.

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Photo of Brent
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bell's nailed this one on the head for the style. Somewhat sugary malt awash in an onslaught of forceful hops bittering, a note of cotton-candy ringing through the hops roar. Bitterness coats the tongue and holds on with tenacity, finally fading with a surprisingly clean finish. The beer manages to balance, teeteringly, on the knife-edge between full-on DIPA hopping and over-the-top overkill.

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Photo of Spider889
4.04/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Got to say thanks to Jaimie (cabgoddess) for hooking me up with this bottle. She pulled it from the back when I came in for the Nemesis that she'd reserved for me. For only $2.99 a bottle I was very happy to have this little surprise added in!

Looks very cloudy, deep amber, golden yellow around the edges/bottom of my kolsch glass (yeah, it was the best glass I had clean). Tiny head (maybe 2mm white bubbles), and it leaves a sticky ring of lace around the top of the glass.

Smells of pineapple. I mean... big, bright, fresh-cut, citrussy sweet pineapple. I always see people use that was a descriptor in IPAs and such, and sometimes I kind of get it, but this is the first beer where within my first whiff I immediately said, that smells exactly like pineapple! Sooo lovely. There are some pleasant and restrained hop notes, all cirtussy, sweet hops.

The flavor is sweet and clean. Lots of fresh tropical fruit. Pineapple, mango, orange. Nice hop bitterness on the end making it slightly dry and cloying. Well balanced and flavorful. The aftertaste is of alcohol... if this were toned down to something like 8.5% this might be my favorite DIPA (or at least worth sessioning regularly).

Mouthfeel is light, almost syrupy sweetness that clings to the mouth. Lots of alcohol burn all the way down the throat. You are then left with a sweet salivation feeling in the back of the palate.

Drinkability is average for a high abv version of this style I guess. One bottle is enough for me. I would certainly be happy to have another tomorrow though! Overall I'm pretty impressed, my biggest issue is the seemingly needless high abv.

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Photo of Beejay
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice medium amber, a bit hazy with a nice looking white head on top. Decent lacing.

S: Beautifully sweet, malty with caramel and syrup. The hops are sweet and fruity with pineapple and tropical fruit notes.

T: Some serious malt in the front. Creamy smooth with tons of caramel. Next come the hops; bitter, fruity, and lingering. The finish is a lasting bitterness and a shot of booze to top it off.

M: Almost a creamy, velvety texture, nice carbonation. The flavor really lingers.

D: Very good and tasty, butter, sweet and bold. The taste is just a touch boozy for me, but all in all a pretty fine beer.

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Photo of gatornation
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a beautiful peach/amber color with a staying 1 finger head it has a beige ring and head with clinging lacing..its perfect..smell is tropical fruit with malts and citrus hops it permeates the palate..taste is the same as smell.. it mango,grapefruit,citrus and hops all put into a delicious dipa..mouth feel is medium very good 10% abv hidden with all aspects of a good dipa present , but this is alas a top 2nd tier dipa its very good but not great.. its lacking in the tropical and hops explosion that puts it in the A+ range ..oh its good but again it takes backseat to one of its own..hopslam,,still it is a must try and a very good one..highly recommended

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Photo of dedrinker
2.4/5  rDev -42.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Medium amber color with off-white head. Bottle gushed, but poured smooth and head almost gone.

Aromas first of alcohol, then sweet malt, then as the fumes dissipated, tropical/ floral hop aromas. Now a mix of tropical fruity hops and alcohol.

Alcohol is first flavor supported by hop bitterness. Surprisingly ungraceful, and unbalanced. Some sweet malt flavor conspires with sweetness of alcohol to achieve a chemical burning sensation.

Medium body with alcohol finish and hop bitterness.

I'm glad I did not pay 20 dollars for this six pack. Bell's is bleeding the pockets of foolish beer geeks on this one. Ironically, thanks to various beer writers, and legions of rookie followers, this is what the much ballyhooed "extreme" segment of craft beer is turning into - overpriced beer with unbalanced harsh flavors. Congrats - we wanted to be fancy and respectable like wine, and now we have an over-rated Napa Cabernet scene of our own.

Really, thanks beer geeks for throwing tons of cash at any fool who crosses the 9%abv mark, or uses a wild yeast or barrel aging. Thanks a lot.

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Photo of bsp77
3.93/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Hazy honey-gold with thin white head and broken lacing.

Smell: Light citrus, light spiciness and light toasted malts - nice, but too mild for a DIPA. I hope the taste is better.

Taste: Yeah, the taste is better than the aroma, but this is still a very standard DIPA. Citrus and pine hops countered by lightly sweet toasted and caramel malts. Ends spicy and bitter, with a bit more pine.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, full body that oozes hop oils. Warming and dry. The feel is the best thing about the beer.

Drinkability: What's with the hype? This is a standard DIPA, and Hopslam is much better. In terms of more typical DIPAs, give me a Hercules any day. Still, I do like it quite a bit and it is very well made, despite the weaker aroma.

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Photo of WYVYRN527
4.17/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally. I get a chance to try this brew. Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a stemmed bulb.

The beer pours a rich copper orange with a thick off-white head that stays for some time. Lacing is sticky, and drys on the glass walls. Smell is almost all pineapple, with some caramel malt in the backround. Taste has so much more. The beer is the pineapple express of beers. Pineapple character dominates, also with some citrus and a hint of mango, along with sweet, caramel-like malt balancing it out. Full bodied, and very resinous, this beer coats the palate and has an everlasting finish. It's more hops than anything else, and it's not as balanced as the other hop monsters Bell's produces. Still, it's a damn fine brew and I'm glad I had a chance to try it.

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Photo of pdoran10
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

picked up a few 12oz. bottles of this hard to find beer at the closest liquor store. brand new batch of a well rated double ipa? yes please!

pours out a beautiful slightly hazy copper color into a tulip glass. nice finger and a half of head that leaves behind great lacing.

smell is a hint of orange with pine like hop smell coming through. maybe some lemon too.

taste is powerful pine up front, yeah this is just mostly piney hops. finishes with a really tasty caramlized malt profile that blends well with the hops.

mouthfeel is thick but normal for a double ipa. carbonation is a bit higher than normal but works well here.

nice double ipa overall not blown away by this beer, but wouldnt mind having another one in a sitting. strong hop profile makes it a little bit of a sipper, but thats ok.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.14/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 9901, 12 oz bottle.

It's been awhile since I've had a new beer from Bells that excited me; now I have again. First, the appearance and mouthfeel are perfect by my standards for the style. Color is a deep, glowing cloudy golden tangerine with a massive, dense tiny bubbled khaki head. The head never fades to less than a finger thick and covers the glass in sheets of dry lacing. The aroma is the biggest disappointment for me as it is rather mild and restrained compared to the rest of the experience with this beer. Mild grapefruit and other sweet citrus with a light sugary bubblegum note. Not much of a malt presence or even particularly fresh hop bite to the aroma. Flavor on the other hand is very strong and lacking much nuance, but that doesn't really bother me when it nails what I want from the style so well. From the onset the flavor is smooth, potent citrus and tropical fruit hoppy and amino acid blend with a strong warming alcohol presence. Mouthfeel is perfect; thick, smooth, creamy and a long lasting citrus rind and biting hop finish. Not quite a perfect DIPA or as "transcentdental" as Hopslam but still an exceptional beer.

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Photo of LiquidBread219
5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A= Poured into my perfect pint glass it poured a very clear copper color and had a decent white head on it with some very nice lacing.

S= There is a very citrus smell like a pineapple very nice.

T= Very Good Flavor to this beer you get the citrus flavor at first and then it flows to a pine flovor kind of bitter at the end.

M= Nicely carbonated, really enjoyable.

D= Really a great beer glad I got to check it out if you have the chance it's worth it very good beer it's a shame it limited.

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Photo of Bonis
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours an orange-red color, with a slight haziness. Large bubbly head fades to a thin layer and leaves a sticky lacing on the glass.

S - Very hoppy and fruity... citrus, pineapple, peaches. A little piney bitterness, but more sweet caramel malts which dominate this sweet nose. Very nice.

T - Pineapple comes out big, with an intense hoppy bitterness that bites back at you. This one is sweet near the finish, particularly burnt brown sugar and almost a candy-like sweetness. A piney bitterness on the back end. Good overall.

M - A little too carbonated for my liking, but not bad. Alcohol coats the mouth and lingers for a while. Alcohol burns in the throat after the swallow, heavy in the gut as well. Weakest aspect of this beer for me, but still decent for a 10% beer. Feels lighter than 10%.

D - Again, being a 10% beer, this one is pretty drinkable. I wouldn't drink more than one because of it's rarity (Hell, I only had one!!!), but if it were readily available, I could see myself enjoying 2 or 3 in a night.

Notes: Bottle lists Alc. 10% by Vol, not 10.4, not that it matters. Batch 9901. This one wasn't as great as I expected, but it WAS pretty darn good, and I was happy to try it regardless.

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Photo of JToad
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured directly into my Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass a dark copper, about the color of a penny.

Minimal head with decent lacing on the sides.

Smells of tropical bitterness. Hops are very noticeable, without being overpowering.

Smoothe and hoppy bitterness, yet not sharp like many other DIPAS. Some sweetness on the sides.

For the ABV to be 10%, this has to be the easiest drinking DIPA I have ever had. The alcohol is very well masked, and the hop profile is very present, without being over the top. A very complex example of a style not know for being complex. Most brewers just throw hops in the kettle, this has some thought and balance.

Love it. Another IPA done perfect by a great brewery. Not as good as the BIG HEAD SAN DIEGO STYLE ALE from a few years ago, but I think I enjoy this more than HopSlam.

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Photo of Keffa
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 9901. Poured into my Hennepin glass.

A: Poured a hazy copper-ish burnt orange color, slightly off white head, not a large head, might have been due to my pour. Little puddle of head left on top, ring around the outside. Some oily lacing sticks to the glass in spots and refuses to let go. Nice looking beer, off to a good start.

S: Caramel malt, toffee, biscuits, spicy hop, a little orange peel, some pinecone, burnt sugar. Very sweet aroma, but the hops keep it in check. You know it's got hops in it, but the aroma is NOTHING like Hopslam. This one is a little decieving. Read on...

T: HOLY SHIT. I now know why this is such a highly regarded beer. Amazingly bitter, piney hops off the bat, with a slight malt sweetness keeping up, but just barely. Some citrusy notes show up, mainly orange and a tiny bit of grapefruit pith. Piney and spicy bitter hops dominate this one through the finish, though. The malt that does come through comes off as a biscuit or cracker with a caramel and slightly toasted sugar wafers. Very, very, very good beer. This is 10%? Really? Could have fooled me. Reminds me of Hopslam, if it were worked over with the refinement hammer. This one has a much better overall hop flavor, especially the piney, almost sappy flavor, and the bitterness is just perfect, IMO. The malt backbone in this one takes a backseat, where in Hopslam, the malt seems to be neck and neck with the hops. This is perfection in a DIPA for flavor, I think.

M: Oily, slick, and full, with nice carbonation. Pretty decent.

D: Oh yeah, very much so. Alcohol is so well hidden, at least to me, that I could put these away all night, and probably end up sloshed because they are that devilish.

It is a SHAME that this is a limited brew. It is FANTASTIC overall, and I think is a perfect counterbalance to Hopslam. Where Hopslam has the absolutely perfect aroma and well balanced malt/hop profile, this one has a more mediocre aroma but a much better overall hop flavor and less of the malt, allowing the bitterness and other flavors of the hops to shine. I'd have reversed the names if I were Larry. This one is more of a "hopslam" to the tastebuds.

Well done, and I'm glad I got 3 of them.


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Photo of jjanega08
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A= The pour is a nice crystal clear copper color with a decent looking finger high perfect white head that holds some really nice retention as well as some super lacing.

S= Very aromatic with a lot of pine and pineapple. Loads of citrus in there as well making itself present.

T= Very good flavor. Not the candly like sweetness hopslam presents but more of a brutally bitter hop flavor in the finish. There is a nice grapefuit flavor at first. The grapefruit is washes away quickly by bitter pine flavor. The finish is perticularly bitter.

M= Nice medium carbonation to it with a clean finish.

D= Pretty good DIPA. I've been drinkless for a few weeks now and I had to drink this beer right away. Worth checking out. I loved every little sip of this one. Worth seeking out but maybe not worth the hype.

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Photo of generalnotsew
4.79/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my friend in MI for the hookup. Color is kind of in between IPA and DIPA. Kind of dark but borders on wanting to be yellow. Pours with a well rounded head. Smell really reminds me Hopslam. Which still puts me in the mind of strawberry pie. Tangy but sweet tropical fruit with a sweet whipped cream smell. I can already tell I am going to love it. Really pick up on that sweet/tart tropical fruit right off but it sure does break into a exceptionally hard bitterness quickly. It really does linger after awhile too. Probably one of the more bitter DIPA's I have had. But also the sweeter. Either way this stuff is golden. Very oily mouthfeel while being quite drinkable. Please mass produce this time every year to tide us over til Hopslam again!

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Photo of JoePat
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a beautiful copper color with an off white head.

It has an awsome citrus aroma with some grapefruit, tangerine, and some lemon zest like notes. A little toasted, caramel sweetness that blends with the citrus notes.

It has a nice caramel sweetness along side some flowery and citrus hop flavors creating an explosion of flavor in my mouth.

Mouthfeel is smooth and slippery??? It just seems to slide over my tongue as the hops explode.

This is definately a sipping beer but I think I could easily see my self having more than one.

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Photo of a74gent
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 9901

A - a nice medium amber color with beautiful moderate head and sticky lacing.

S - A nice hoppy nose, but nothing distinctive. Just standard good grapefruit nose.

T - The taste is full, but a little too bitter hoppy for me. I'll rate it very high for the style, but not to my liking.

M - A very full mouthfeel with moderate stickiness.

D - If you like the bitter hop, this one is very well done without being just a hop bomb. A nicely refined, bitter hop glass. I'm not sure how you could drink very many of these though.

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Photo of caskstrength
3.23/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Wherefore The Oracle??

First off, I know it's ultimately insignificant, but how stupid is the "DoubleIndiaPaleAle Ale" label.


pours nice. enough head. DIPA appearances as expected.

Smell is pineapple. whoa. some orange, but mostly pineapple.

Tates are tropical hops. alcohol. decent balancing malts. A tropical fruit DIPA, but the bar has been set high for Bells here. And this is simply OK. Not much fresh, juicy zest. A bit thick. Flavors not bouncing around at all. Boozier than I wanted, didn't help the profile.

More carbonation and lighter mouthfeel would have helped.

An OK pineapple forward DIPA. But it's not as good as hopslam or 2hearted, and I don't see much reason for its existence. Not sure what Bells is doing here.

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Photo of KeefD
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Gibby32 for hooking me up with this bottle. Nice golden orange color with a small white head, cap stuck around the entire length, left some light lacing. Great hoppy aroma on this one. Pineapple, lemon, and light pine make up the bulk of the aroma, with very little sweetness. Taste is fantastic. Great hoppy bitterness, yet not overly bitter and tongue searing, lots of pineapple and tropical fruit flavors. Really digging this beer. The alcohol can barely be felt under everything, which is good, and it's actually a little sweeter than I expected. Medium bodied, and the alcohol actually comes out as it warms up some more. Overall, a great DIPA. Not quite as good as Hopslam, but this was a great treat and glad I had the chance to try it. Thanks Mike!

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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
93 out of 100 based on 753 ratings.
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