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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 Overlord
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Ineedabeerhere!

Pours a bright golden orange. Large sudsy white foam head. Glows with a mild haziness when to the light. Very attractive brew.

Smells ... whoa ... smells bitter. Almost like an ESB taken to the ninth degree. Pine, some bitter grapefruit, and a toasted grain aroma.

This is, off the top of my head, the most bitter member of the IPA family tree I have ever had. Just palate wrenchingly bitter and hoppy. I never thought I would come across a beer that was too bitter, but this might be it. The pine-y, earthy, blast furnace nature is all encompassing. There's a hint, just a hint mind you, of sweeter grapefruit, orange, and maybe pineapple, but it's struggling for air.

Great syrupy, resin-y mouthfeel. I have to admit, 12 oz. was plenty.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.09/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A-Clear orange, not much carbonation, two finger sticky head.

S-Grass pine, good deal of citrus, some malt.

T-Very earthy and piney. Some citrus. Good deal of bitterness in the finish.

M-Medium bodied, some carbonation, good hop bite.

O-Was expecting more from this one, was worthy hunting it down once, but not again.

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Photo of Dragginballs76
4.09/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours - Clear golden color with very nice white head great lacing.

Smell - Sweet malts, grapefruit and orange peel, little but of floral smell and some spice.

Taste - First off where in the world is the alcohol, you cannot taste it. Grapefruit, citrus, slightly sweet. little bit of caramel as well. Slight bitterness on the back end.

Feel - Medium body, great carbonation just a hint of warmth from the alcohol.

Overall - An excellent DIPA, I love the citrus flavor and the bitterness is well balanced.

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Photo of OmahaKF
4.09/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Smell is heavy pineapple, sweet malt, orange citrus, some onion, and as it slightly warms I pick up notes of lavender, honey, and orange blossom. Taste is pineapple and herbal tea, with some booziness. Bells definitely does a nice job with the double IPAs - the oily mouthfeel of this one reminded me of Hopslam, but slightly sweeter and less bitter.

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Photo of dstc
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a copper, rouge color with a frothy, light tan head. Head falls slow, sticky lace.

Nice herbal hop aroma with a bit of a sweet malt background.

Bold hop flavor. Not sure where the malt taste is I picked up in the nose. Very hoppy but does end with a sweetness on the tongue then lingering bitterness.

Medium bodied, has an oily slick feel on the tongue and a nice bite.

Decent, easy drinking beer. Another nice job by Bell's.

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Photo of alcstradamus
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to schro126 for the trade. Glad I get to try this super fresh.

Pours a nice amber color with a billowing 3 finger head when poured directly into my 16 oz. chalice. A nice web of lacing is left behind despite the fact that this glass had some residue on it before pouring.

The smell is huge, pungent hops. They are mainly of a floral variety, although notes of both pine and citrus do exist.

The taste is a smack in the face of bitter hops. Smack might not be the right word, this is a Mike Tyson knockout blow. Bitter as all hell, lots of pine invading all the senses. Bell's didn't mess around with this one. A hop heads dream, although personally I prefer a bit more citrus kick to really put it over the top.

Mouthfeel is medium to full and fairly oily, quite a bit of carbonation splashed this one throughout the mouth. This is a huge beer, and not for the faint of heart. My mouth tastes like I just ate pureed pine needles. I recommend this to any serious hop lover, but peronally I will stick to Hopslam. Still....highly recommended.

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice pale yellow gold with a tall thick white head that leaves lace for days.

Smells bright with fresh citrus and tropical fruit notes, backed by whole grain bread notes and a floral bouquet.

Sweet bread notes balanced by bitter citrus lemon and grapefruit. It has some nice sweet stone fruit notes - peach. It finishes dry with slight oak notes.

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Photo of justinp444
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy mango orange with a inch and a half thick slightly peach white head. Smell is of tropical fruit, citrus, pine, oranges, grass, and earth with a nice bit of biscuit-y malt. Taste is dry bitter, grass, citrus, oranges, the back end has pineapple, and caramel malt flavor. It has a moderate to full mouth feel that is quite resiny and a medium body with just a bit too much alcohol.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, dated 7/10/15

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

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

here's one that i thought deserved a re-review as this one is bottled 8/10 (just about 3 weeks ago) and my original review was from a really old bottle. thank you to genuinedisciple for the fresh taste!!! enjoyed from my bell's tulip.

a - same gorgeous classic ipa orange with a generous frothy head (no change in score)

s - fairly even ipa. some vanilla and orange peel. good soft piny hop presence. (upgrade to a 4.0)

t - nice bouquet of hops and grapefruit. balanced and even not too hoppy, but still resiny and piny. just a solid IPA (upgrade to a 4.0)

m - feel is fairly light for a beer like this. ABV is invisible. not bittery, but cooling. (no change in score)

o - overall, this is a different animal fresh. it is no hopslam, but it never set out to be hopslam. this is like a gateway DIPA. the hopping is subtle, but there. soft grapefruit flavors...really nice and balanced (upgrade to a 4.5).

*** ** * ** ***
Original Review from 1/25/2012
*** ** * ** ***
4.5 - 3.5 - 2.5 - 3.5 - 3.0

massive thank you to Marti403 for sending this one my way. bottled 8/12...so bear that in mind.

a - cracked the bottle and filled my urthel tulip. mild explosion upon opening. brew poured a deep orange red with a super frothy ipa head. lacing was chunky and milkshake like.

s - nice subtle vanilla and caramel hop. smooth with a good malt presence. seems like time has faded the citric burst on this one :( still nice, but more barleywine like for sure.

t - sadly the hops are long gone in this one. strong grapefruit and what all the others see, just no hop.

m - pretty bitter, no hop bite. boozy tingle.

o - overall...don't age them iipas. time will morph to barleywine maltiness, but the hop character is what makes a great iipa. i promise to re-review this one fresh, but for now...here's what a 4.5 month old one tastes like.

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Photo of srandycarter
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Beautiful clear dark copper, tons of off white head, tons of lace. Nice.

S - Malty goodness. Hops take a back seat, but are there.

T - Taste follows smell. Rich, lush malt, checked by sufficient hops.

M - Fairly balanced, good coating, nice.

D - I would drink my share, easy to hide this ABV.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears clear gold, minimal head. The nose is full of deep flowery hops, heavy pine, caramel, molasses, and a touch of honey. Taste is malty and sweet initially followed by heavy pine and floral character. Finish is bitter and sticky. Mouthfeel is somewhat heavy with moderate carbonation. Overall, a nice malty IPA with tons of floral hops.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A-pours a deep transparent amber color with a dirty off white head.

S-the aroma is a hop explosion, a strong caramel and brown sugary malt foundation have a good presence up front but the hops dominate the nose. Tons of pine citrusy hops with a good bit of grapefruit and appricot in the back.

T-the taste is slighlty more balanced but still a hop focussed brew. the caramel and brown sugar are up front showing the true size of this beer as the malt foundation can still show under a hop blanket. Resinous piney hops take over, lots of bitterness setting in. the back end brings the sweet citrus with tons of grapefruit and the bitterness keeps hitting, its moderate in strength but long in duration lingering for some time.

M-the body is syrupy and a little grainy on the palate, falls off a little in the back making it slick on the throat.

D-huge beer, lots of balance but definitely a hoppy brew. there is definitely a nice tropical fruity sweetness in the back but the caramel, brown sugar and pine work together to transition the malts and hops. tasty stuff!

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Photo of rye726
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Up for review is a 12oz bottle of The Oracle from Bells poured into a pint glass at room temp. Nice cedar color, lacy tan head. Nice blend of hops and malts. This sample seems a bit stale, but it still has a nice bitter hop presence. Medium body well carbonated. Nice bitter finish.

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Photo of Wadsey
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The Oracle, bottled on 8-12-11 and consumed on 9-1-11

Served in New Belgium globe glass

A: Pours clear gold with big, off-white head that shows great retention and leaves sheets of foam clinging to glass. Light effervescence. 

S: Tea, pine, tropical fruits, especially grapefruit, and white grapes. The hops smell quite pungent and fresh. Alcohol is detectable but does not detract from smell.

T: Malty sweetness leads off, stronger than I remember. Transitions to pine and aforementioned fruits. Spiciness zips across palate. High bitterness peaks on palate, sits there for a long, long time and then slowly dwindles as the beer's finish. 

M: Medium-heavy body and medium-light carbonation. Sticky mouthfeel and warming. Drying toward finish. 

O: This year's The Oracle is a little too sweet up front for me, but it is still a great DIPA. Ambitious in its breadth and meticulous in its brewing. Recommended. 

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Photo of roger617
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into snifter.

A: 4.0 Bright golden copper with 1 finger of white foamy head that reduces very slowly and leaves tons of lacing.
S: 4.0 Pine and malt forward with lingering floral notes.
T: 4.25 Slightly boozy, similar to smell I get pine first. This leaves a lingering citrus aftertaste, and a warmth that should come with a DIPA.
M: 3.75 Carbed well, smooth and silky. A little more carbed than I'm used to in this style, but it doesn't take anything away.
O: 4.0 This is a great brew, definitely what I expect out of a DIPA. Malty, boozy, pine and citrusy. I was able to snag 2 at a local rare beer release, I'd be happy to get a couple more!

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by shigadeyo.

Poured hazy copper color with an average fizzy off-white head that was mostly lasting with excellent lacing. Moderate to heavy sour citrus, earthy and barnyard aroma. Medium body with a slick texture and lively carbonation. Medium to heavy smooth bitter hop flavor with a medium to heavy bitter finish of moderate duration.

This is a good beer.

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Photo of fields336
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

SN tulip, 8./10/12 date

A: golden, light amber, honey color with a huge collar or thick off white yellowish head on top. lacing is phenominal, carbonation looks great

S: grapefruit, citrus, tropical fruit, slight pine/floral, sweet malt backbone, with a touch of booziness in the background

T: sweet is my first impression then a huge wave of piney, grapefruit, citrus, peach, pineapple comes through and finishes on a nice balanced dry bitter/malty finish, the best of both flavors. touch of booziness but i expect it at 10%

M: not too thick, but still you can tell its a DIPA, the carbonation is spot on imo

O; not as good as hopslam, but still a delicious beer

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Photo of pdoran10
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
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 Rutager
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks to Steasy66 for this and all the other great beers!

Appearance. Pours a hazy orange-gold with over a finger of thick off white head - great retention and nice lacing.

Smell. Honey, brown sugar and caramel, yellow grapefruits, grass and floral hops, some pineapple, oranges and cedar.

Taste. Caramel and grass, yellow grapefruit, oranges and pineapple, honey and floral hops. Good bitterness in the finish with a lightly herbal, almost licorice root note.

Mouthfeel. Fairly full body, low carbonation.

Overall. No shortage of hops here with a big base to back them up. Good stuff.

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Photo of jsanford
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch # 9306, poured into my New Belgium Globe.

A - Hazy orange-amber with a foamy white head that quickly dissipates to a cloudy pillow. Leaves a soapy "sheen" on the side of the glass.

S - I really like the nose on this! Really sweet pineapple, canned mandarin oranges and pine resin with a moderate caramel malt backbone.

T - More pineapple, hops, pine and mandarin oranges. Very well balanced despite the huge tropical flavors. Bit of a bitter finish, along with a definite warming from the ABV. Still, very nice.

M - Medium bodied, bit on the syrupy side. Nice prickly carbonation.

D - Overall an extremely solid beer, well crafted and balanced despite being so "big". The ABV does get to me a bit, so I can't see having more then one. Really wish I could have tried this fresh, it could have been one of my favorites of all time. Still, a great example of what Bells can do, would love to see this added to the seasonal rotation!

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Photo of dpasotti
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Interesting translucent light copper in color with a thin crown that clings to the glass for dear life on the way down. When I bring the Swensen's goblet to my nose, a massive prickly pineapple smacks me in the face. Loads of tropical fruity hop aromas makes it seem like Bells designed the beer based solely around exotic, tropical hop characteristics. There's a little caramel malt and a nice clean herbal/scented soap aroma (in a good way).

The flavor doesn't fall far from the Hawaiian fruit tree: pineapple, papaya, mango, peach... Minimal malt character lets the hops shine while keeping the brew in balance. This is a refreshing change from the citrusy or piney double IPAs that are the norm. The bitterness is not intensely sharp upfront, but rather fills the whole mouth with a hefty, even bitterness.

The mouthfeel is oily as expected, but not overly so. Medium-low carbonation helps to beef up the body into the midrange. Most DIPAs, including Hopslam, are able to fully conceal the high alcohol content with hops, but a somewhat obtrusive alcohol presence detracts a bit from the drinkability here. However, I did just casually slam one of these beasts in <30 minutes, so I really can't complain.

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Photo of Ninjaticker
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at the pub recently.

A - medium clear gold, cloudy white head, good looking beer.
S - Very rounded aroma, grapefruit mostly, other citrus fruit, hops on the finish.
T - This is a very hoppy dipa, not alcoholic of chemical, but lots of pine, most of the malt is going, wish it was a touch more balanced.
M - Appropriate fee.
O - This is a solid dipa worth trying.

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Photo of jampics2
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from a trade with TasteTester - thanks for the hookup!

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Bell's Pint Glass.

A - golden orange. Really looks nice but nothing insane. Small white head that sticks around, probably stuck to the hop oils ;)

S - smells of spicy hops, a bit of citrus (I've had more citrus-y beers), but mostly a nice dank hoppy spice. Not too pine-y - I've had a few beers that exhibit the same smells, but this puts them all together really well!!

T - WOAH! Two sips totally destroyed my palette. Seriously dank, hoppy, bitter, and ruinous. I like DIPA's all day, but I must admit I tend to like just a little more balance - this is waaay bitter and lingers on and on. I would like this more if they had chosen going one of two ways, with the decision between a sweeter malt or a slightly more citrus-y sweet hop (this is more spicey to me than others have described). Finishes a bit too hot for my tastes, but gets much more tolerable when paired with a salty snack.

M - Mouthfeel is exceptional, like Hopslam - these little bubbles won't quit. Carb is perfect, just perfect mouth on a DIPA. Bells is king of this.

D - Drinkability is hard to rate honestly. I could drink many more, but would I taste them? Above average but not A material IMO.

I was lucky enough to score a 6 pack, so I'll need to give it another shot or 5. Good, but not legendary - I'd take Hopslam 1,000,000x's over this, but glad to have tried it. This is for those who like their hops spicey, bold, and unforgiving. All in all, glad to see Bell's still pushing new flavors. This just isn't anything monumental to me.

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Photo of rypkr
4.06/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Starts juicy and explosive but finishes oh so bitter an offensively sappy and spicy pine resin stuck to all four sides of your tongue. I'll pass on buying this again, it's far too bipolar for my taste.

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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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