Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

The Oracle | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
778 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 778 | Ratings: 2,679
Photo of alexgash
4.82/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle. Batch 9306.

Slight haze in a tangerine body. Index finger of dense, creamy, light beige head. Great lacing. Nose is ablaze with outrageous hoppy goodness. Huge pineapple and tropical fruits mix with pine pitch, resin, and a citrus fruit salad. The hop aromas are so fresh and in your face that I can't stop huffing from this tulip glass! Crazy.

If the nose wasn't enough to meet my hophead cravings, then the taste puts it over the top. Intense herbal hop bitterness right off the bat. Pine and mint flavors follow, as sweetish tropical fruits trickle in, forming a solid malt base. Big pineapple and mango flavors crescendo before the hops takeover for good. Strong herbal, citrus, and pine notes completely stun the palate and numb the tongue. Some candied fruit sweetness resurfaces in the otherwise dry, bitter finish, but this is all about crazy fresh hop flavor and intense bitterness. Full-bodied with a creamy feel. As much as I love Hopslam and Big Head, this is the new king of Bell's growing DIPA line-up!

 1,033 characters

Photo of rudylaw
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle courtesy of hoppymeal. Thanks Derek!

Pours an extremely bright orange with a huge white head that has plenty of lacing.

Smelly of juicy orange, tangerines, melon and pineapple. Not like any IPA I've ever had!

The taste is an explosion. Hoppy with pineapple stealing the show. Juicy, juicy pineapple. I'm not catching much of the orange and tangerine I originally smelled, but that's fine. There is a tiny hint of caramel balance present as well.

The mouthfeel is amazing! Perfect, medium carbonation. Unbelievably drinkable. Just an absolute frigging pleasure. Bell's continues to not be happy to just make beers, they're happy to crush styles into oblivion. One of the best DIPA's ever! Make this an annual and DISTRIBUTE!

 740 characters

Photo of HopOverdose
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Nothing bad to say here about Bell's mystery brew called The Oracle. I heard rumors that it was a nice DIPA similar to Hopslam without the honey. Well I'm here to tell you this is a brew all on it's own and should never be compared to Hopslam.

A - Pours smooth with a coppery amber tint. This beer has a nice 1-2 finger head on it that emits an aroma so perfectly. Small amounts of chunky sediment when twist poured into a tulip.

S - Very pungent on the nose with lots of sweet hints of grapefruity citrus. It hits the nose strong.

T - After a deep sip the grapefruit really pops out at you on the front with a nice bitter flowery hoppy taste throughout. Lots of citrus. It really packs a punch with the ABV. You can definitely feel the alcohol on this one. Definitely not as sweet as expected but also not too bitter as well.

M - This brew feels great in the mouth with the right amount of carbonation. Not too thick and not to thin which adds to the drinkability.

D - Easily consumed with a smile on my face. I would highly recommend this beer to anyone who loves the DIPA. I found this to go great with aged cheddar.

 1,126 characters

Photo of Duane_Opfer
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Phenomenal! Loads of hops and grape fruit rind. At least a top 5 beer for me.

A - Light orange/amber. Poured a light head.

S - Hints of apricot.

T - Intense citrus/grapefruit flavor with a load of hops. Intense hop flavor on back of tongue. As it warms, malt flavor comes out as well.

M - Full bodied; feels luxurious in the mouth.


 357 characters

Photo of ShogoKawada
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A big nod to ThirstyBird, who met me for an in-person hook-up. Thanks!!!! My first Bell's beer, totally unexpected, wholly appreciated.

Going into this beer, I had no idea what to expect. I've only had a handful of midwest DIPAs.

A- Pours a nice orangey copper with a moderate head, eggshell-white, pretty complex structure. Not the biggest but not going anywhere, either. Scratch that, 3-4 mins has left the head all but gone, with significant lacing.

S- Complex. Deep hop essence, aromas, oils, resins... Almost peppery. I know I've used peppery as a hop descriptor before, but never has it had as much meaning as it does now. These hops are intense. Almost a medicinal quality, although in a good way. Really resinous.

T- Follows the nose. A completely unique DIPA. Taste is deep, resinous, peppery, intense, yet not overpowering. This passes my test for a great DIPA- the hops were blended in a precise fashion, not 'kitchen-sink-hopped' like SO many DIPAs are. I cannot get over the raw hop power of this beer.

M- Drying, a bit hot, peppery (for a third time, I've used that word)... fantastic. Good carbonation, enough malt to give it some heft yet without the cloying sweetness that's oh too familiar. Amazing.

D- For me, an admitted hop junkie? 5/5. Your mileage may vary. Doubt I'll see much more of this soon, but this beer will forever be ingraned in my taste memory books as an amazing, outstanding, unique, and fantastic beer.

My first Bells, couldn't have been a better experience.

I'd rank this in my top 5 DIPAs easily. While hard to compare to Pliny, Squall/90 min, or Hop Rod, it certainly can hold its own. I am blown away by this one.

Serving type: bottle

 1,684 characters

Photo of generalnotsew
4.79/5  rDev +15.1%
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!

 755 characters

Photo of bmanning
4.79/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 9306. Shared with Thorpe429 at our tasting last night. The Oracle has the most complex smell and taste of any DIPA I've ever had - there's peaches, lemon, orange, pineapple, grapefruit (just a hint), floral hops, and a grassiness. I would have loved to try this fresh, because even now more than a few weeks after it's release it's amazing. This is an exceptional DIPA.

 375 characters

Photo of Pencible
4.79/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: This poured a clear dark gold with moderate light tan head.
S: It smelled like mango and pineapple with some grapefruit and honey, and a bit of peppercorn.
T: It tasted like sugary sweet honeydew melon and mango, with pineapple and grapefruit. The aftertaste started sweet, then became very bitter and lasting.
M: It was slick and oily with moderate carbonation.
D: This was a phenomenal IPA with wonderful tropical scent and taste, along with a smooth body. The alcohol was hidden very well also, so it was too easy to drink. But delightful to sip and savor. Instantly one of my favorite IPAs ever. Boo yah!

 611 characters

Photo of JDizzle
4.78/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a deep orange with a nice white head that falls rather quickly. Lacing is epic.
Smells like an Oracle should.... Brilliant with a citrusy fruits, resin, and a bit of sweet malt. I can tell this is a hop monster. Pretty one sided on the nose.
TOP 10 fo sho.... Straight blast of hops on the palate that is brutal. POW, this one is complex with citrusy fruits, resin, pine, and a little malt on the end to make it not so one sided; even though it is. Really hoppy with a crazy bitter finish.
Mouthfeel is medium and crisp. Ultra bitter on the finish. Not boozy at all. This one hell of a beer.

Overall, this takes down Hopslam, and redefines the DIPA for me. It's only lacking on being a complete beer with so much bitterness, and not enough balance. A+

 758 characters

Photo of Magpie14
4.77/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: a wonderful hazed golden tangerine body with sticky whipping cream colored top. In addition, the head is a reasonable sized layer off fluff with a surprising amount of "clingy" properties. I find the presentation has very admirable features, very nice looking

S: well...gee, this is as close as you can come to liquified hops. A hint of sweetness basks in the grapefruit, orange, and tropical fruit goodness. Malts are non-existent in the nose, as far as I can tell. This is what DIPA's are all about...this thing smells banging

T: the mouth does not disappoint either. Luscious hops permeate in every sip and a small helping of toasted pale malts is not far behind. The most notable hop flavor is the tropical laced juicy pineapple. This is augmented with some oranges, lemons, and grapefruit and a light wisp of pine characters, I like! After a few sips I must say that the hops are in a friendly assault type of mode, this baby gets a bitter snap as it warms
From my memory, due I dare say, that it seems it is not as balanced as Hopslam, or as good. Yet, the Oracle is better than the majority of other DIPA's I have ever had. Amazing!!

M: well, here we have a solid beer with medium body with mild carbonation. The balance between sweet and bitter plays nice in the mouthfeel. What is great is that it is not overly sticky or clammy and retains a hearty bitterness that bites but never scars the palate. This beer is just all that I look for in a hop ladened brew. As a result this is one of the better, for the style, drinking brews I have had

D: this has jumbo hops and jumbo greatness. Am I surprised that this beer is incredible? Not really, it is from Bells what do you expect. If you can get a bottle, get two.
Thanks to the beer wizard midnite2sixman for the bottle and his uncanny knowledge and connoisseur mentality. Most wizards carry a staff into battle...he carries beer

 1,894 characters

Photo of jtd1969
4.77/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

had it in a 10oz pour from a bar in Raleigh, NC

A - Orange/golden color in the glass

N - Lot's of grapefruit and pine. Smelled so good

T - Carbonation is crisp. Tastes like a tropical citrus paradise with lots of hops(Front end), that turns smooth still ringing with hops(back end). Such a complex beer. The sweet malt yet powerful hop taste does a really great job at keeping the 10.4 % hidden as well. Definitely a must for all Imperial IPA drinkers.

M - malty with a pleasant sweetness that makes way for the hop explosion. So good.

Overall, a very delicious beer. Being that it was beer week in Raleigh the 60+tap bar had 10 different "rare beers" on tap, however I still had to order another one of these...

 717 characters

Photo of teovaldi
4.77/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I was lucky enough to score a single 12 oz...didn't even have the option to purchase a 6 pack.

Pours a slightly hazy, almost rust orange color with a lovely 2 finger head.

Smell is of strong citrus hops that jump out and grab you.

Taste is citrus hops of juicy PINEAPPLE, grapefruit and orange. Even more hops than the nose would lead you to believe.

Full bodied with a slight dry finish and almost "harsh" biterness, which I LOVE.

The drinkablity of this definitely suffers from the 10.4% and the bitterness...most definitely a sipper.

Tasting notes from early August

 575 characters

Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%

spicy floral hop aromas, very hoppy with both spicy and bitter hop elements – obviously hopped in multiple stages. Like many American IPAs and what you would expect from a double IPA, the hops really dominate but the malt and the alcohol provide a nice balance. Bells demonstrates how to do a super hoppy beer – it has intense bitterness and almost comes off as an elixir with the alcohol almost adding to the bitterness – this is probably not a session beer but would make a nice aperitif beer for before or after dinner.

 528 characters

Photo of TheHoppiest
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Lizardville in a tulip glass. Poured a burnt orange amber with a thick off-white head that has good staying power. Beautiful lacing along the sides of the glass as the beer is consumed.

Has a rich, citrus smell, loaded with hop resin, and definite notes of grapefruit, evergreen, and orange.

Rich, resinous, and creamy, with a strong hop-bitter profile that sands the tongue from front to back. Tobacco, pine, and oak leaves combine with an abundant alcohol presence to give this a real aggressive flavor. This strength and bitterness is somewhat tempered with mild sweet grape and apricot flavors. If you like your beer to be flavorful and complex, then grab one of these.

Full bodied, this will grab your tongue and wring it out leaving it appreciable bone-dry.

An excellent brew, which I frankly like better than HopSlam. Bell's, please put this out in wider release!

 892 characters

Photo of jopezu
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

deep hazy orange, thick head settles quickly. nose; floral hops, orange peel, slight sticky sweet fruit (pineapple & light mango) and booze. the taste follows the nose, except a much juicier orange flavor and a slight sting from the 10% abv. massively bitter with a surprisingly small malt profile, which leaves the bitters, florals and fruit flavors to work their magic with each sip and without the frothy buildup that accompanies heavily malted double ipa's. finish is slightly dry and very bitter, with the sweet fruits still hanging around. this brew makes me imagine a bell's two-hearted with a shot in the arm (and a touch more orange juice). a definite winner for me!

 679 characters

Photo of k3n
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle from Tangfoot. Thanks! Batch 9306.

Pours an inviting golden amber with a 1/4" dense head that fades
down to a ring of tiny bubbles and wispy trails of lace.

The nose is all floral hops. Grapefruit, pine, honey...mouthwatering!

The taste is an explosion of hop aromatics, big fruity esters with an underlying caramel/honey sweetness. The finish is big drying bitterness which prevents the sweetness from getting cloying. Mouthfeel is great, thick and sticky to start, then trailing off to a much cleaner finish.

 526 characters

Photo of Homers_Beer_Odyssey
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%

APPEARANCE - Clear orange with a off-white 2-finger head that lasts. Good lacing

AROMA/SCENT - Sweet, citrusy.

TASTE - Bitter, dry. ABV well-hidden.

MOUTHFEEL/PALATE/TEXTURE - Beer is light, well-carbonated, with a pleasantly creamy head.

VALUE - A bit pricey

OVERALL/DRINKABILITY - A very fine beer indeed. Quaffable.

 323 characters

Photo of gford217
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Another great bottle from hoppymeal, poured into a tulip.

Pours a bright, hazy orange with tons of bubbles streaming up to the top, feeding a huge billowy white head that shows excellent retention and sheets of lacing. Beautiful looking beer.

Man, this beer smells fantastic, just full of juicy citrus fruits with oranges and tangerines coming through especially. But there's also some grassy hops and pine resin as well with a bit of bready malts hanging around. Mostly hops though and they smell great.

The taste is just as good, maybe better. There's a pithy citrus hop sweetness with a healthy dose of bitterness from grapefruit, tangerines, pineapples and oranges. There is enough bready malt to balance the hops a little bit, with a huge floral bitterness in the finish. This taste is about the hops - big, juicy, sweet, bitter - all together tasty.

The mouthfeel is basically perfect - good carbonation, medium to full bodied, tons of bitterness.

It took quite a bit of restraint to have this bottle last as long as it did. So drinkable, so bitter, so sweet, so tasty - this is one of the better DIPAs I've ever had, right up there with PtY and 16 Grit. World class.

 1,178 characters

Photo of stvanderwoude
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance is a very enticing hazy golden orange. Nice white frothy head. Bubbly carbonation.

Aroma suggests serious dry hopping. Mouthwatering sweet grapefruit, pineapple, tangerine, ripe melon. This smells amazing. This is one for the tropical hopheads.

Taste follows through on the nose's promise. Sweet, luscious citrus fruit, red grapefruit, sour orange and a dry, mildly bitter, peppery finish. Caramel malts are in the background but support the hops nicely. This is no palate destroying IBU monster. Medium carbonation and smooth mouthfeel for the style. Fragrantly bittersweet, refreshing and incredibly drinkable. Wouldn't know this is 10% ABV.

Overall - This is a top tier DIPA. Better than Hopslam? A case could be made.

 736 characters

Photo of kenito799
4.74/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, IPA tasting

Fairly bright orange, clear brew, little head, fine bubbles with intricatelacing on the glass.

The fresh bright fruitiness that hits the nose is remarkable--passion fuit, pineapple, grapefruit.

Pleasing mouth-coating effect from so much flavorful hop oils...The fruitiness hits the palate first, a tropical fruit cocktail, quickly transforming to a mouthful of freshly cut pine needles. The finish si bitter and endless. This is a remarkable, amazingly delicious brew. I want my mouth to be continuously bathed in these fresh aromatic hop oils.

 573 characters

Photo of runner440
4.74/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this beer in my epic Michigan box from Marc. This DIPA was awesome. Had huge sweet hop nectar and an epic malty backbone. Could not taste the 10% alcohol at all. The bottle was very drinkable and I had no problems finishing it myself. One of the best DIPAs I have ever had. Highly recommended.

 297 characters

Photo of MikeyRx
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours orange-copper with white head that lasts and leaves good lacing.

Smell: Hops, citrus, pine and had a soapy quality.

Taste: Hop-forward with some grain flavors. Strong grass and pine tastes followed by a slightly sweeter citrus. As the beer warmed I noted orange and grapefruit.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation. Has a tacky, slightly oily feel that dries slightly but not completely through the finish.

Overall: The Oracle is everything a DIPA should be. The taste is strong and complex, and the mouthfeel complements it perfectly.

 570 characters

Photo of razorsdescent
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
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.

 1,432 characters

Photo of SykDoc
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a tulip. It pours a nice mildly hazy copper color and forms a 1.5 inch off-white head that slowly reduces to a nice lacing. Carbonation visible and no sediment.

The aroma is a great blend of a caramel malt backbone and some very nice citrusy hops components. Bitter smelling, yet sweet.

The taste is as the aroma. A nice blend of malty backbone with a pineapple sweetness and a nice citrus bite and pine with just a bit of herbal presence. Some alcohol presence as well.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a unique thickness/texture that makes it seem full bodied. Evenly balanced carbonation and a nice dry finish.

This is a great beer. The only thing that keeps from giving it a 5 overall is the alcohol and texture which leave your palate sufficiently satisfied after one.

 806 characters

Photo of yuenglingfan101
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into my pint glass. Another great beer from one of my favorite breweries. This beer had a orangeish hue to it and with a little bit of head. Had the taste of grapefruit and other citris flavor to it. Taste like an IPA. Nice occasional beer with friends.

 260 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!