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 OldManMetal
3.48/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

This is a great-looking beer: a giant, pebbly ivory-colored head looms atop a clear, effervescent, deep-gold beer, leaving excellent lacing in the form of thick, sticky bands and sheets; the only visual downside is how rapidly the head dissipates. The nose is delicious and enticing; medium in intensity, it leads with pineapple juice, backed by ruby grapefruit and sweet florals, hints of darker florals and modest alcohol overtones. Up front, the palate is grassy, medium-bitter pineapple and more subtle cotton-candy florals; mid-palate the pineapple gets juicy, the grassiness becomes more pronounced, a spicy floral flavor emerges, and we get a good view of the bready malt foundation. At the same time, a too-astringent mouthfeel develops, and a darkish bitter/sweet solvent character defiles the low end of the flavor as the booze does its damndest to run the whole train off the tracks. The finish is a warming whallop of bittersweet booze, followed by the onset of a modest, boozy pine bitterness that lasts for awhile. Mouthfeel is commensurate with the medium body, and is unpleasantly astringent; the texture is medium-creamy and slightly peppery from the somewhat restrained carbonation. Too hot to be enjoyable. (12 oz bottle, 42 days after pkg)

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Photo of Traveler19808
4.34/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours with a nice head, medium head, good lacing, slightly foggy gold to copper body. Strong but smooth hops on the nose with citrus and grape. Fantastic taste on the front smooth pronounced citrus, malty and hop bitter on the back.
Very enjoyable beer and impressively balanced for a big 10% beer, drinks better than most standard IPAs.

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Photo of Hyptochrons
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

golden orange appearance, dense white head. good retention and lacing. floral aromas as well as grass, pine, caramel. palate is orange, grapefruit, spicy floral note, caramel malts, pine. solid feel.

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Photo of Mongrel
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big rice and honey up front, and then some apple and grapey vinous notes give way to your more typical hoppy bitterness. Love the big honey-sweet center that's more than offset by a boatload of resinous hops. Finishes really impressively dry, with lingering bitterness and an enticing herbaciousness.

Smells like honey, grape, lavender and pine sap. The whole beer reminds me a lot of Hoptimum, maybe even a little more unique and nuanced. Stellar stuff.

P.S. - as I look through the other recent reviews, I realize this brew is for old-school hop heads who like aggressive, piney, resinous, tongue-coating BITTERNESS. Not so much for late-comers whose ideal IPA is a zero IBU fruit juice smoothie.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.86/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The Oracle pours a copper color with a huge lacing head. Very earthy and malty aroma. Taste is very big, lots of earthy hops, with a big sweeter malt backbone. Good body and feel. Overall, very big bold beer.

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Photo of 57md
3.79/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a light copper color with just under a finger of head. The nose and flavor have a solid balance of malt and hops. The flavor also carries a slight sweetness upfront and a bit too obtrusive alcohol presence on the finish.

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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 Sabtos
2.71/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Light copper with a thin khaki ring.

Aromas of pungent, almost catty hops, with hot grapefruit pith, and a grainy malt background.

Taste is real hot and spicy hops and booze, yet softened by frothy grapefruit rind and zest, and pine.

Devil Dancer light, if that's anywhere remotely possible as a thing.

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Photo of delta490
3.96/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A deep orange with a golden tint, it has a thick cap of foamy white head with great retention. It has mostly soapy lacing. The aroma is light but still packs in some nice citrus and pine hops with a little malt sweetness. The taste is a little more emphatic and offers the same as the aroma. It is medium bodied, with a little carbonation and just a little dry on the finish.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.21/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a slightly murky copper color. The head is a finger high, and off-white in shade. Retention is excellent, and the head manages to leave behind thick webs of lacing.

Compared to a lot of new-school DIPAs running around these days, this beer's aroma is classically old-school. A hefty backbone of caramel, brown sugar, and toffee is not only backed by an assertive pine bitterness, but also by some fruity ale esters and a touch of alcohol. It's a throwback, but is that bad? Everything seems to come together nicely, and that's what counts.

Tasting it, the malt comes across heavily like a barleywine - as does the finishing bitterness. It starts with plenty of crystal malts, meaning lots of caramel and toffee appears. Piny, grassy hops slowly build near the back end. Quite a bit of alcohol comes through at first. For better or worse, it's a textbook old-school DIPA - it isn't as delicately balanced as the nose suggested, either.

Despite the fairly full, heavy feel, it finishes quite dry. There is a mild burn, however. Nonetheless, the drinkability is surprisingly good for 10% (aided by gently rolling carbonation)

Hrm. I definitely don't think it's worth it's exorbitant price or mild rarity, but it's a fine DIPA taken in a vacuum. However, there are many superior examples of the style available locally (to me), and that makes this hard to return to at the end of the day.

3.21/5: I've heard your wisdom plenty of times before, Mr. Oracle

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Photo of FBarber
3.92/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours an opaque orange color. Soapy white head dissipates very slowly leaving sticky lacing and a slowly thinning residual head.

Smell is very herbal and grassy - almost smells like a wet greenhouse. Hints of citrus are noted.

Taste is very grassy, lots of bitter wet vegetation flavors. I believe the common term to describe this would be "dank". Very prominent malt backbone gives it a caramel like flavor along with a bready backbone. Very bitter finish with a lingering bitterness. Its certainly a dank hop bomb - and if thats your thing, you'll love this. If not, you'll hate it. Also isn't all that balanced - but I suspect they were going for a hop bomb.

Feel is actually pretty light for a DIPA. Easily drinkable. Mild carbonation - bit less than I would have liked.

Overall a nice DIPA from Bells. Not sure I think its as good as the ratings here would suggest, but its a solid beer. If you like dank bitter hoppy IPAs then you'll probably like this one.

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Photo of Jimmys
3.36/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle with a 07/26/16 date on the back label. I hope this is a bottled on.

pours very hazy with an impressive off-white head. aroma is very hoppy, but nothing super distinctive. flavor is largely pine and resin driven with a lot of alcohol to boot. if I had to guess this is just a larger version of Two Hearted without the tact, but that is a shot in the dark.
overall, this isn't worth the steep pricetag when these guys are making the aforementioned Two Hearted and their hop beast, Hopslam. I'm a bit letdown, but glad I tried.

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Photo of Karnivool1
3.26/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Don't get the hype on this one. I don't find much balance on this one at all. Just a boozy hop bomb. Lingering bitterness at the end. It smells great, and looks good, but an overload of pine and grapefruit. Glad I got a single bottle only.

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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 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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Photo of ajm5108
2.91/5  rDev -30%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.25

Not much head / carbonation on the pour. Aroma has lots of floral & citrus hops, with a little dry Mosaic undernote. This one is a bit too aggressive for me, there isn't any balance of flavors, just an overload of grapefruit / pine resin, with a piquant stab of fusel alchohol on the end. As IPAs have evolved over the past couple of years plenty of beers have shown there graceful ways to present that classic hop bitterness without assaulting the drinker. This beer has all the grace of an elephant on ice skates. If one-note "hop bombs" are your thing, drink away, but this one is a pass for me.

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Photo of 11-52_4hops
3.79/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Hazy golden honey color, nice lacing. Light nose includes hints of honey, caramel, and malts. Heavy body taste, quite malty with strong bitter hop finish, and some alcohol. A hint of honey in there as well that reminds me a bit of Hopslam (but in my opinion not even close to Slam overall). Bitterness lingers in the back of the mouth for a long time. This isn't a bad beer by any means, but it just seems unremarkable to me for a limited release (and the accompanying per bottle price). Could be that a more pronounced malt taste just isn't my thing.

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Photo of Fantific
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of a twelve ounce bottle dated 7/18/2016 into a sniffer. Medium color with a small head that faded quickly. Smells of mild citrus and floral, also picked up some wood chips. Tastes like a very well balanced DIPA, lots of hops but similar to Hopslam well balanced. It was very smooth at first and as it lingered in my mouth I picked up the high alcohol along with a mild bitterness. Overall, pretty impressive for a 10% beer, the only drawback was the boozy/bitter taste at the end. Perhaps at 8% it would be better.8

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Photo of Buck89
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

20-day old bottle poured into a pint glass. Hazy medium-amber color with a thin off-white head that faded quickly. Bright aromas of grapefruit, orange, pine, and caramel. Grapefruit pith up front on the palate, with plently of citrus, earthy flavors, and a heavy malt presence. Hot on the finish, seemingly appropriate for the big ABV. More dry and malty than I would like.

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Photo of BSiegs
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Amber orange in color, very opaque. Two fingers of thick off white head. Retention and lacing are superb. The aroma is grapefruit, citrus, sweet malt. Slightly grassy and floral. Very pleasant smell, well balanced between hop and malt characteristics. The taste is citrus and grapefruit again, but with a bitter pith element as well. Big malt body stands up to the hops and adds a definite sweetness. Bitter and floral notes linger on the aftertaste. Full bodied, moderate carbonation, and a lasting bitter, balanced finish. Overall, this is a very well done, very big beer.

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Photo of Sludgeman
3.96/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottle dated July 18, 2016. Paid $4.99 Poured into a chalice.

More malt bomb than hop bomb. But rather disappointing. Not a $30 per six pack beer. 3.75

A - Pours a clear golden with just a bit of cloudiness. An one-finger off- white head. 3.75

S - Floral, knock out roses, malty. 4

T - Slightly sweet with nice herbal bitterness. 4

MF - Medium bodied with a dry but not desert dry finish. 4.25

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Photo of dcotom
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful translucent dark amber color with tons of snow-white fluffy foam, leaving lots of thick lacing. Aromas of pine and citrus, with a little bready malt and alcohol as the beer warms from fridge temp. Taste is as advertised, heavy on the hops with lots of pine resin and some citrus and a lingering, oily bitterness on the finish. There is also a bit of heat from the alcohol, as might be expected due to the high (10.0 %) ABV. Another outstanding effort from Bell's.

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Photo of BikeChef
4.19/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This definitely has an old-school DIPA feel, with the malt being very present. The hops still shine, though, especially making themselves present in the finish. Perhaps it can't stand up against some of today's juice-bomb DIPAs, but this is a faultless beer produced by a brewery that knows what it's doing, even if that isn't the latest thing. That said, the price for this is too high these days and the new-school IPAs are calling me...

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Photo of FriedSlug
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Deep gold beer with a sticky off white head that leaves a few bands of lacing. The aroma is sweet with citrus like mango and grapefruit with a bit of pine at the end. The taste is sweet caramel, citrus and malt up front which is ushered out rather rudely by a giant piney bitterness. For a big ABV beer this is quite tasty and hides the alcohol nicely.

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Photo of babaracas
3.71/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear bright copper with one finger of dense creamy foam; spray of lace down the glass. Smell: ripening melon, orange peel, spicy and slightly resinous. Majorly underpowered. Taste: a pop of grapefruit peel, then quite spicy with pine needles galore, fading into a very tea-like back. Residual orange marmalade. Medium bodied; oily hop and booze really undercut the otherwise stellar creamy feel, finish tries to dry out but is still oily and quite bitter. It's alright. There are at least a dozen better wide distribution DIPAs for far less scratch.

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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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