The Oracle | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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The OracleThe Oracle

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

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: 786 | Ratings: 2,715
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!

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Photo of Ek0nomik
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured In: Snifter
Purchased At: Steve's (Madison, WI)
Batch 9901 (August 23, 2010)

Appearance: The pour is an amber and burnt orange with not even a finger of head produced. The high alcohol is likely the culprit of the low head. A few swirls in the glass reveals small dots of lace across the glass; there's no thick sheets from the sticky malt. Again, I think I know the culprit. The beer is slightly effervescent, and what do you know, the little head there was has found a better home.

Smell: Alcohol shines through on the nose quite noticeably, but to be honest I'm not finding it unpleasant. Tonight I'm in the mood for something a little stronger. Working in IT puts strain on the body! ;) Sticky caramel malt is definitely there, but the alcohol and hops blast through. The hops bring in grass, grapefruit and orange peel.

Taste: Alcohol and some darker caramel malt start things off. The malt is a bit more dark on the palate than I was expecting, but, as luck would have it, the malt doesn't last long. The abundance of hops start to pull their weight, both in bitterness and in flavor. They bring herbal flavors like grass and pine, and then finish the tasting off with more grapefruit and orange.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation was pretty damn close to being perfect, I did let it sit for a brief period to let some of the carbonation die down. The body is medium to full.

Drinkability: This really is a fantastic beer, but, *but*, after having so many different IPA's and IIPA's, I feel like it does get lost in the mix. I love Bell's, and I'm glad they added another IPA to their collection, but there are many beers like it. Nonetheless, this will end up in my crate again because let's face it, an IIPA is just what you need sometimes.

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

Pours a dark amber color with a quarter finger cream colored head. A good amount of lacing sticks on the side from agitation.

The smell shows plenty of tropical hoppy fruits such as pineapple and mango with some orange as well.

There are all kinds of fruits in the taste; Orange, lemon, grapefruit, mango, pineapple. The end of the taste shows some piney bitterness. There is also a barrel aged like mellowness on the tongue.

The mouthfeel has a full and heavy feel to it with minimum carbonation. It feels almost like there is some mercury weighting the mouthfeel on the tongue.

The bitterness and mouthfeel are the only clues that this is a heavy hitter. With Hopslam and The Oracle, it is clearly seen that Bell's makes some of the best DIPA's around.

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Photo of nickadams2
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A_Pours a slightly hazy,golden/amber color with a thick, sticky white head.Lots of lacing.

S_Citrus bomb. Grapefruit,pineapple,piny hops.Some alcohol heat.

T_Follows the nos. Intense citrus. Lots of pine. Lots of spruce in the finish.Alcohol burn. Awesome beer.

M_Thick,sticks to your lips. I cant stop lip smacking. So delicious.

D_Very drinkable for such a bad ass beer. Two or three and you're well on your way.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, Batch 9901 (Bottled on 8/23/2010). Served in a snifter, the beer pours an amber/orange color with an inch off-white head. Head retention and lacing are both good. Aroma is mostly citrusy (orange/grapefruit/tropical fruit) and pine hops, along with a little bit of bready malt. Taste is pretty much the same as the aroma, the citrusy hops flavors are the strongest, but the pine hops and bready malt flavors are noticable too. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's creamy, oily and slick with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is very good, it's quite smooth and goes down easy. I think this is a good overall brew, I'd definitely buy this again.

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

A: Golden-orange with an inch of off-white head, which unfortunately dissipated relatively quickly. Nice lacing. A profound thick white half-circle is left on the glass (I doubt water by itself will remove it).

S: Hops in the nose, but not as strong as most IIPAs. The malts do not slip through the cracks here. It actually smells quite sweet.

T: Wow, the head is creamy and delicious. The next thing I taste is the hops. There is some citrus fruit hiding in there as well (maybe tangerine or orange?). Pine hops carry through to the aftertaste as well as the alcohol.

M: Extraordinarily smooth for the style. Full-bodied yet creamy. Impressive!

D: The 10% ABV is definitely noticeable. I may have to stop after one, although two wouldn't be far-fetched.

It's hard not to compare two IIPAs made by the same brewer. This is not nearly as good as the gem that is HopSlam, but it does stand out as one of the better IIPAs that I've had. Distinct taste and well made.

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Photo of fear025
4.14/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma:I get some nice sweet malt in the aroma, and a little bit of grapefruity hops.

Appearance:Amber in color, nice white head, great retention.

Taste:On first sip, the hops in this beer hit me in the face hard! After a few more sips, I can start to differentiate some different flavors. I can taste some peach and nectarine in the hops, also a little pine. Some nice hope sweetness provides a good backbone to this one. The fruity flavors linger pleasantly on my tongue well into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel:This beer has a medium body, and some nice alcohol warmth. It's also kind of creamy.

Drinkability:Once you get past the initial hop bomb, this is a very enjoyable beer. It's hard not to compare this to HopSlam though, which I think is a little better.

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Photo of chaz410
3.17/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this bottle at Common Market.
Pours a beautiful orange tinted amber body with a half finger width white head.
Smells of grapefruit, pine and grassy hops with a very heavy caramel and toasted malt character.
Taste more like an imperial pale ale than an imperial IPA. It has a very smooth orange and caramel blend character with lots of hints of pine, pineapple, apple, and earthy hops.
Mouthfeel is exceptionally smooth.
It is very easy to drink dispite the ABV and the syle

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Photo of bamadog
4.04/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Quite pleased to luckily come across a bottle of this as my usual haunts sold out pretty quickly. Review is from notes taken on 9/7/2010 and poured from the bottle to a pint glass.

Appearance: Pour is a near perfect honey/copper color; starts with a big billowy 2 finger off-white head that becomes softly pock marked as it slowly fades; body is slightly clouded and hazy and shows moderately strong carbonation; a pretty thick coating of lacing clings to the sides of the glass.

Smell: Holy shizznit -- tons of hops of the pine, grapefruit and sweeter pineapple varieties; a definite presence of thick syrupy maltiness lingers in the nose to provide some balance to the huge bitter blast; slight presence of alcohol in the nose as well, but at 10.4%, more than expected. I really appreciate and enjoy the super robust nature of the nose here.

Taste: Oh my - all bitter hops right up front and they piney and grassy -- really none of the sweetness from the pineapple-like scents that were picked up in the nose; hops are so prevalent that they're even spicy; there is an ever-so-slight taste of maltiness, but it too is swallowed by yet more hops; definite presence of alcohol as well. I really feel that this beer would be better with some age for especially bitter presence to mellow a bit and allow some of the malts to shine through for balance.

Mouthfeel: Mouth is creamy and smooth with a body that is medium in weight; carbonation is present, but soft and fitting of the body; a thick sticky coating is left all over the mouth and the gums are left tingly and the belly is left especially warm.

Drinkability: Moderate at best -- the bitterness is a bit extreme, even for me, and could use some time to find some balance; the alcohol is also considerably high and would need to be drank in strong moderation.

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Photo of 33nickadams
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Happy 25th Bells! Batch 9901

A- I like the appearance, but I had very little head and not much lacing. Yellowish orange and semi-transparent.

S- Surprisingly, I'm not smelling a high hop nose. It is a pleasant sweet malt and pineapple smell.

T- Sweet and hides the bitterness very well for a dipa. I might not have the finest pallate, but I'm tasting apple.

M- Very easy to drink for a dipa. Smooth.

D- My second of the night, thinking about another...

I love this beer, but still not as good as hopslam. I can't help but compare the two. I would say that oracle is hopslam's younger sister.

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Photo of TKEbeerman
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to lurchingbeast for throwing this in as an extra!!

A: Poured into my pint glass, this brew pour an impressive opaque golden yellow orange with a fluffy pillow like head leaving lace like no other! Perfect for an IPA.

S: The aroma is simply perfection. Fruity, hearty, sweet hops complemented a an apparent malt sweetness. Pineapples and other tropical fruit are present.

T: Flavor profile is excellent, but could improve. Much less hoppy then Hopslam, this is a very refined and balanced IPA. A large, sweet malt background complements the bitterness of the hops. The finish of the hop bite lingers comfortably for minutes after each sip.

MF: Mouthfeel is perfect. Thick creamy. The carbonation is perfect and aids in the flavor perception of this brew.

D: Drink can improve with a more hidden ABV.

Overall, The Oracle blew my mind. Look, smell, and mouthfeel this brew is perfect. Every single DIPA should take note. Flavorwise, PTE and Hopslam are still superior, but not by much. This brew is definitely not over-hyped.

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Photo of hopsbreath
3.41/5  rDev -18%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Twelve ounce bottle poured into a snifter at 8 o'clock in the morning after working all night at the hospital. Big thanks goes out to Thorpe429 for including one of Larry Bell's hoppiest as an extra!

After a moderately hard pour, about a finger and a half of ivory head formed atop the orange-gold anti-freeze tinged body. The head recedes quickly and no cap is left. Minimal lacing shows up as well.

Very sweet smell contains lychee candy, passion fruit, and pineapple.

Of course the tendency is to compare this to Hopslam, and through the power of suggestion, it is similar. The obvious difference between the two comes out here at the taste. Oracle isn't near as sweet and malty as Hopslam but is way more bitter and dank.

Mouthfeel is semi-thin for how big of a beer this calculates out to. It is however pretty oily due to then reckless use of hops.

How drinkable can a 10% DIPA palate destroying hop bomb be? It comes right down to "do I want another"? The answer is no. I'm glad I got the chance to try it, but won't be seeking it out again. Give this a try if the chance presents itself but don't go out of your way to track it down. Track down Hopslam instead come early next year.

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Photo of atsprings
4.62/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was worried that I had missed my opportunity to try this beer this year. The few stores in my area that got some in sold out almost immediately. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Flying Saucer had got some bottles of it as well. 12oz bottle into a tulip glass pours a slightly hazy orange with a thin khaki head that diminishes to a thin layer and leaves decent lacing on the glass. Aroma is nice fragrant floral citrus hops in front of caramel malts. The taste is loads of citrus hops alongside a nice amount of sweet caramel malts. The beer is on the heavy side of medium with a slight dryness smoothing things out. This is a very enjoyable DIPA, one I was very glad to get to try and one I will certainly have again.

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Photo of peabody
3.95/5  rDev -5%
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 -40.1%
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 -3.8%
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 -5.8%
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 +2.6%
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 -5.8%
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 +5%
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 -2.9%
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 +2.6%
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 -3.1%
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 -42.3%
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 -5.5%
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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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.16 out of 5 based on 2,715 ratings.
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