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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: 778 | Ratings: 2,679
Photo of clint1019
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Golden color with a thick cream colored head that sticks to the glass and leaves some nice lacing.

S - Big, Big, Big citrusy, piney hop aroma.

T - Has a nice sweet malt taste up front and a blast of hop bitterness on the back.

M - Medium bodied and full of carbonation that dances across the tongue.

O - Damn this is a fine beer. My mouth is still tingling from all those hops. Will definitely look for this one again next year and would definitely recommend to anyone who loves hops.

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Photo of russpowell
4.57/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This one is from imperialking, cheers Jeff!

Pours a semi hazed amber with 2 fingers of rocky sand colored head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Pineyness & grapefruit with some biscuitty malt hanging in the background, plus leafy hops once warm

T: Grapefruit, dryness, pineyness, honey malt hiding behind some boozey breadyness up front. Grapefruit takes a pithy front seat as this warms, along with herbal & piney hops. Finishes with herbal & woody hops, plus a ton of grapefruit & a bit of booze tinge, plus dryness & biscuitty malt

MF: Chewy with low carbonation & fantastic balance

Drinks too damn easy for the ABV & IBUs. Hopheads need to seek this one out, would love to have a fresh hopslam for comparative purposes right now. We get a lot of the flagship Bells across the state line; just a damn shame this didn't make it this far south/west!

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Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.57/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottled 8/9/13. Aroma includes a unique blend of earthy, spicy, citrussy and piney hops. Strong malt backbone but really really loaded with hops, obviously. Taste is very bitter but not damagingly so, therse's much more going on here. Nice balance and loaded with juicy, resinous hops with a really lovely sweetness on the back end. Glad I got to experience this amazingly delicious beer.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4.57/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Big Hunt in DC. Poured into a snifter glass. The Oracle places hop intensity first and foremost, making only the slightest concession to malt & balance. The fireworks start with the floral aromatic punch of two separate dry-hop sessions with Amarillo and NZ Pacific Jade. Resinous, citrusy hop flavors mixed with aggressive bitterness from a massive kettle addition deliver on that aromatic promise. What a great DIPA!

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Photo of bballmj2k
4.57/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lucky to find this on tap at sams in Durham.

A - deep golden orange with a finger of head with tight white bubbles

S - oh yeah. This is so much like hopslam. No DIPA I've ever had matches the aroma of these beers. Grapefruit, citrus, peach, mango and pine.

T - wow. Bitterness is huge up front with fruity flavors towards the middle and piney resin at the back. Phenomenal.

M - super dry. Medium carbonation but great sticky mouthfeel.

I believe I prefer hopslam, the honey really adds some depth and drinkability to the base beer. Either way this is fantastic and worth trying to find.

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Photo of fiver29
4.57/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Josh with a group of other beer lovers. Thanks Josh! Pours orange with off white head. Aroma is citrus grapefruit simcoe hops. I said I thought the aroma reminded me of hopslam without the honey. Opulent mouthfeel. Flavor follows the nose and has a great citrus hop blast from grapefruit or orange and finishes semi dry with slight alcohol. Someone else suggested it was like their big head. Either way a great IIPA and was a pleasure to try. Thanks!

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Photo of Florida9
4.57/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Slightly hazy pale orange in color. Forms about 1/4" of sticky head with a hard pour. Leaves sheets of lacing.

S: Light whiff of sweet malt, then a host of hoppy flavors: orange, mango, citrus, and pine. Very aromatic.

T: A light honey sweetness followed by an appreciable hop bitterness. Mostly a strong pine flavor with grapefruit and citrus to a lesser extent.

M: Medium in body with appropriate carbonation. There is a noticeable bitterness.

D: A very good and quite enjoyable DIPA.

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Photo of bobsy
4.57/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

"She came from Greece, she had a thirst for knowledge".

How the hell does one man in Toronto end up with this much Oracle in his apartment? I'll tell you how - because of an insanely generous Kalamazoo BA. Cheers to viggo for a good evening of drinking, and mad props to hoppymeal for hooking him up.

Four for four on good looking beers tonight. The bottle goes into the glass, kicks up a sticky white head that laces a dream, and positively glows a radiant amber. The aroma is insane. The nose practically screams pineapple, and clubs your round the head and into a delicious coma. Its sweet, big and juicy. God, and so much citrus too... its like a whiff of hop heaven. Tangerine and orange are the Apollo Creed and Mickey to pineapple's Rocky. Its not a beer you can smell for long without pulling it to your lips. Seriously, get this into department stores in perfume bottles.

Unlike the pythoness of Greek history, this beer does not speak in riddles. In fact its ridiculously simple, but manages to succeed on the basis of doing simple very, very well indeed. Huge, juicy hops dominate from start to finish. Grapefruit leads off, and is joined in the party by tangerines, candied lemon and mango. Sweet pale malts provide the merest of support roles, and I'd usually criticise this as demonstrating a lack of balance, but the hopping is so excellently executed that my criticism is moot. You can't help but dwell on the hops, because they last long after the sip is gone, and the resiny finish is epic, with a well-delivered bitterness. The body is just shy of perfection, and its full, chewy and slick texture is an excellent compliment to the vibrancy and intensity of the hops.


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Photo of PerzentRizen
4.57/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel glass this is the second time I've had this beer in the past week thanks to brewdan. I still have one more and I think I'll enjoy that tomorrow night..first I'll have to consult the Oracle. This beer is just too good to put down. The color is a glowing copper and the head is nothing more than some collected bubbes as an island in the vast sea of heavenly nectar.

The aroma is piney hops, sweet malt, and white peppery notes. This beer tends to really open up around 45 degrees; much below that and the aromas really are sealed in.

The taste is intensely bitter hops followed by a chewed asprin twang then to a more balanced intensely sweet malt then back to a floral hop flavor. It's almost as if this beer ate hopslam and shat it out but in a good way. The intense honey sweetness is no where in site but you can just about find everthing else you like about hopslam.

The mouthfeel is chewy and perfect for the style. This is much like Moylan hopsickle in mouthfeel. Oracle almost seems like syrup until you start to swallow then it gives in a great way. The intense flavors coat the tongue and the hop resins make the mouth smack while the texture is smooth and creamy.

Drinkability is tough. You want to drink six of these but know you can't. This beer has to be around 9-12% abv. Also the price and rarity will stop you if you can't help yourself. At $4 a bottle and harder to find than a virgin college sophomore this beer is on everyone's want list...the Oracle told me.

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Photo of Joe_Palooka
4.56/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is not the beer for the average beer drinker nor was it brewed for him. This is indeed a hop bomb but a very pleasant hop bomb. It has a beautiful amber/copper color with plenty of carbonation as bubbles just steam from the bottom on my snifter. I think it is pretty balanced but my favorite beers start at 100 ibu's. There is a resinous pine taste and the 10% abv is smooth. The mouth feel to me is very pleasant and the smell opens up the sinuses in a good way.. I bought three sixes of this beer and I will be very sorry when it is gone. Thank you Larry Bell for another great beer! I have experienced my 6th bottle of this fine beer and anyone who would call this a dank beer simply does not know how to taste beer. This beer is one of the absolute best double ipa's I have had in a long long time.

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Photo of alleykatking
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle.

A- Pours a semi-hazy golden orange with a hint of a reddish tint to it. Nice 2 finger dirty white..almost light tannish head stays for a good long while. Massive sticky lacing is left on the sides of the glass.

S- You could smell this beer right as soon as you pryed the bottlecap off. Big earthy and floral hop smell with this one. I mean huge. It takes over all other aroma that your nose picks up. Citrus hoppy (pineapple and grapefruit)undertones to this as well. As it sits there and warms a little the sweeter malts also come through a bit more although still covered pretty clean by the musty hop smell.

T- This is what I thought it would be like when I first heard this was being made. Insane hop bitterness and slight citrus sweetness come through in the forefront of this beer. This mellows out a little bit in the middle where the malts come through with a slight sweetness. The hops are all bitter in the middle as well and stay that way till the ending which has a huge earthy bitter hop bite to it. I think the balance in this beer is good but I personally enjoy a nice bitter beer every once in a while and this pulls it off beautifully.

M- This has a nice medium mouthfeel to it. A little chewy I think but still good. Carbonation is dead on and lets the beer leave a trail of piney hop wreckage on the palate. Big hops resin left on everything. It's almost like I just ate a bunch of hops and just sucked on them. Nice bitter hop after taste. Makes you want to drink more and more if you like the earthy hops.

D- This is a very drinkable beer in my opinion. You have to like bitter hop beers to enjoy this one I think though. While I could easily drink a 6er of this I would want to savor each one. Another great DIPA from Bell's which to be honest I think can't really go wrong with making one in the first place.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Cigar City pint glass from a quart-sized growler.

A- Comes out a see-through amber with a quarter-inch head and retains a bubble pattern on top that indicates healthy yeast. Damnit, I took a sip of it before I even smelled it. Couldn't resist, since I've had this beer before.

S- Mmmmm. That smells fantastic. Beautiful wet, grassy, dank hops that give way to a perfumey alcohol compliment. I can tell dry-hopping was a crucial step in this beer's production. Not much malt detected though. Can't wait to really sink my tongue into this.

T- Aww yeauh! Hops, hops and more hops assaulting my palate with IBUs just the way I like it: savory and lingering. Kinda boozy but with good reason to be (since I believe it's actually 10.4% this time around contradictory to BA's report of 10.0%). Not really sensing the malts as much because there's so much bitterness present, plus it makes sense given its somewhat light color. I taste equal parts grass, bitters AND lemon-orange. Every single hop varietal they used swirls together to make a pronounced and tasteful combination of flavors. I'm sure everything I'm sensing is extra pronounced since it's off the tap. Man, is this shit good. Now I see why it's rare and sought-after. Although, once again, I'm missing some malt balance that would most likely provide an extra dimension of sweetness that could really accelerate this beer's flavor.

M- Very smooth (I know that's a cop-out adjective, but really!) yet abrupt. I kind of feel like the mouthfeel makes this beer because the carbonation gives the hop profile its kick.

O- Thus far in my experience with Bell's, their IPAs are where they shine. This and Two-Hearted could easily be considered their best single and double IPA, hands down.

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Photo of mcallister
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Copper colored with a very frothy yellow head holding good retention and a very thin layer of lace around the glass.

Love the nose on this. Big biscuity bready malts are over ridden by thick citrus and pine aromas. Sweet tarts and a hint of berry. Hints of orange zest esters as well.

Nicely bitter with a much better malt prescence than hopslam in my opinion. Good alcohol bite and a big burn in the chest. Hoppy and bitter as hell which is a good thing. Finish is forever. Grapefruit and tangerine with pine flaor on the finish. Good carbonation gives it a very nice prickly mouthfeel that round this beers layers of flavor and complexity out nicely. Never ending flavors.

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Photo of raninator84
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to nickwin for the awesome trade!

Poured from bottle in Duvel Tulip.

HOP-tastic!! Great color pours a darker golden haze, with smooth clinging lacing. Smells: citrus, pounds of hops, with a hint of banana and clove. Tastes: Hops hit the tongue with pleasantly brute force and mold with a hint of the citrus in the smell. Hops control the ride, very great brew. Let them burn and linger, minutes after the first sip the hop burn is still there but the clove and hints of tropical fruit coat the tongue. A very good DIPA. Not the best I've had, but solid!! Get to drinking this one!

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Photo of Chaney
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At $20 per 4 pack, the expectations are pretty high for this one. However, I am going to be fair.

I poured this into a sniffer:

A: Very dark amber color, with moderate carbonation. The retention on this is absolutely stunning considering the ABV. After the session, my glass ended up looking like it had just gone through a car wash on max setting without a rinse.

S: When I initially smelled this brew, I didn't get a decent whiff because it was too cold...far too cold even. I waited about 5 minutes, then took a snort: Ahhhh. Very fresh hop smell - lots of orange, grapefruit, and even a bit of Candy bar-like sugar. After a few more whiffs, I started to notice pineapple poking through.

T: Almost a barleywine, but not quite. Whenever a beer has a very strong hop profile that transcends into the realm of licorice, that is when I start to think American Barleywine. However, this brew skates the edge of that doom very nicely, and rounds itself out with a nice orange pulp taste. Sugary? Yes!... Hoppy? Yes!.... Balanced? Nope, but that's the way I like it!

M: Sure the sugar is cloying, but since this is a "reserve" style "special edition" type of beer in which every drop is meant to be savored, I actually embrace that quality. A true model for this style!

D: I drank this brew during a movie with my wife. The entire time, I found myself in awe of it's flavor, hop profile (which is a tad reminicent of Two-Hearted), and about the brew itself as a sought after White Whale of a brew. Does it live up to the hype? Well, since I am one of the ones who helped hype it, I would say YES!

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Photo of TheBear11D
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Bells. Reviewed 6-18-11 from notes.

Pours a very nice tangerine orange with a nearly white head that hung out for a good time and left plenty of lacing.

Various citrus hops dominate the nose and it is good. Orange, pineapple and grapefruit are the distinguishable aromas I am picking up.

Strait citrus hops in the flavor. Plenty of them and they destroy all other flavors. Malt is present for just a brief second and then the hops swing into full effect and entertain the tongue into the aftertaste.

Full body and completely smooth.

Delicious brew! Glad I could enjoy this on tap and I recommend you do the same.

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Photo of spartanfan
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch no. 9306; packed 8/28/09

A Pours a nice hazy golden color with a fluffy white head that leaves tons of lacing behind.

S: Smells quite strongly of hops; pineapple, grapefruit, grass, pineyness, a bit of maltyness, and slight hint of alcohol.

T: Taste is again dominated by hops; citrus, lemon and grapefruit, a nice malt backbone to balance and a dry, bitter lingering aftertaste.

M: Mouthfeel is great, a good amount of carbonation and a great creamy texture.

D: For the style I would say this beer has great drinkability, alas at $2.99 I can only afford to drink one.

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Photo of beerhan
4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow is all I have to say. This is one amazing beer that just gets me psyched for hop slam. It reminds me a lot of a hop slam with a stronger kick to it. The taste is phenomenal! My only real complaint is that it is not vert aromatic. I could seriously drink this forever it has such a great taste and mouth feel to it I am very sad it is so limited and that me and my friend drank the only two bottles at the bar

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Photo of CruisaC
4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pre-rating note/thought: I am new at this whole reviewing thing. I am finding that I only bother to review beers that are really impressive to me. This is the case with this beer for sure. I'm sure as I get more reviews under my belt I'll review some of the "meh" beers as well, to bring my overall average down a bit towards reality. And on to the review...

Poured from a bottle into my DFH glass.

Pours a pretty copper color with an inch of creamy tan head

Smell is amazing--this is where this beer really did it for me. Smells like a freshly opened can of diced pineapple, in a good way. I've gotten other citrusy notes from IPA/DIPAs, but this took the cake in the pineapple department. Given that it's one of my favorite fruits, that is a good thing.

Taste settles down a bit from the smell. I get some of the hoppiness coming through but also some sweet caramel notes and of course the pineapple again.

Mouthfeel is silkier than you get from a lot of IPA/DIPAs; again, a plus. There is a twinge of bitterness on the backend.

Drinkability--wow, this would become a regular in my rotation if I could ever find it. I just happened to come across two singles on the shelf at Jungle Jim's. As it was one I'd been wanting to try I snatched them up. I'd gladly pick up more if I can ever find them.

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Photo of biga7346
4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into tulip glass.

A - Shimmering golden to copper hue, fluffy white head, tons of soapy lacing

N - Orange peel, orange creamsicle, fresh mango and peaches, hop resin, lemon zest, cotton candy; some herbalness like cumin or even spicy basil.

T/M - hop bomb up front, sticky piney finish, snippets of pineapple, mango, orange zest, crisp carbonation plays with the syrupy hopped background, wheat husk; the alcohol is well hidden and despite a 10% abv, ridiculously drinkable, but starts to get sticky in the back of the palate after 1-2.

D - Beats the hell out of hopslam imho.

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Photo of FourKicks
4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle dated 8.12.11 poured into my Bruery snifter.

Pours a deep copper with a finger of bone white head that is followed by a fair amount of lacing.

Nose is very hoppy. Plenty of grapefruit, resin, pineapple. Sweet, heavenly citrus.

Big hops upfront. Sweet citrus that includes grapefruit and pineapple then some orange/tangerine type flavors. Resin with bitterness at the finish with the bitterness lingering.

Very smooth with good carbonation. Nice bitterness and slightly sticky. Dry finish.

An outstanding DIPA. Very hoppy and citrusy, bitter, good resin. What more can you ask for?

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Photo of zachary80
4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 10588, bottled on 8/12/11. Poured into a Bell's Tulip.

Oracle starts off with a moderate white head, that only lasts a couple minutes. Body is closest to orange with a slightly brown tint.

Aroma is citrusey sweet, grapefruit and lemon come to mind first.

Flavor has a nice bitter/sweet balance. Flavor is predominantly from the hops, pretty heavy citrus influence. High level of bitterness lingers a long time. Alcohol presence is not noticeable.

Mouthfeel is good, nothing very notable.

Overal The Oracle is one of my favorite beers, a great DIPA, and definitely the best I've had that comes in a sixpack

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Photo of aubuc1
4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from batch 9901 poured in to a goblet.

Pours a bright orange with a white steady head.

Smell is a huge, citrus and pineapple bomb.

Taste is a citrusy, bitter, sweet with a bitter finish. I wish I could side by side with hopslam.

Mouthfeel is spot on.

Drinkability is great considering the hop volume and the abv (which is undetectable).

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Photo of PHBoiler
4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into Bell's tulip glass

One finger white head with a very golden hue that is translucent through the beer with no cloudiness.

Nose was bright with some pine and light citrus. Very clean nose that wasn't overpowering but very in balance and inviting for a DIPA.

Taste is crisp and balanced. Some pine, light fruitiness, and light malt/body that allows the hops to shine while providing just enough balance. Not slick at all. Very smooth mouthfeel and easier drinking than I expected at the ABV. Very well balanced DIPA in a world of hop bombs, oily mouthfeels, or malt disasters. This one is worth seeking out, and the price point falls below many DIPA bombers as well. This beer is a clean, well made DIPA that should appeal to anyone who enjoys the range of brews that fall under the DIPA/IIPA umbrella.

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Photo of Randalld
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Murky golden orange. Good carbonation. Half finger head that thins into a nice bubbly film. Small islands of lacing around the class.

S- Honey, mango, pineapple, apricot's, oranges, pine cones, grapefruits.

T- Lot's of complexity here. Starts out with an assortment of tropical fruits. Pineapple, bittersweet grapefruits, orange zest, fresh hops, mango, honey.

M- Medium bodied with good carbonation.

D-This is really a fantastic DIPA. Top five in my book. For having 10% alcohol it's scary how easy this beer goes down.

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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.16 out of 5 based on 2,679 ratings.
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