The Oracle | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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The OracleThe Oracle

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

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: 750 | Ratings: 2,591
Photo of 11-52_4hops
3.79/5  rDev -9.1%
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 ClavisAurea
3.79/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

07/2015 bottle served in a pint glass.

Bright orange color with a thick and frothy head from the hard pour. Nose is piney, heavy citrus, grapefruit, oranges, dank and bold with spicy hop character. The taste is strong and follows the nose with the grapefruit and piney quality. The mouthfeel is lighter than I expected and the 10% ABV is hidden well however not necessary. I liked this one. I was left impressed with the 2 bottle limit at one of my local bottle shops.

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Photo of znichols
3.79/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Straight clear orange with a resilient white head. A good amount of sticky lacing clings to the glass too. Looks pretty standard to me. Looks like a double ipa.

S- Pungent hops and very very sweet malt in the aroma. There is a little bit of alcohol in there too. I would say grapefruit, pine, caramel, and alcohol.

T-Very delicious maltyness to this beer; not expected. The hops make an appearance at the end and really linger on the tastebuds. Think grapefruit, pine sap, and a little fresh cut grass. The caramel, toffee, brown sugar malt really overtakes this beer though. Not what i expected nor what i look for when purchasing a DIPA. not necessarily bad though.

M- Oily slick mouthfeel with moderate to low carbonation. Really glides across the tongue but kinda fails to really pull you in.

O- You know, this is a very good beer. Its biggest fault is the fact that it is too malty. Unfortunately it wasn't quite what i was looking for nor expecting in this brew. It really really is like an imperial two-hearted ale, with the caramel malt and touch of centennial hops really shining through. As others have said, might be closer to a barley wine than a DIPA. Not that bad, but not as advertised.

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Photo of GPHarris
3.79/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - poured a one finger thick off-white head into a snifter that left good lacing. the body was a bright amber color.
s - hints of fruit, bread, hint of sweetness.
t - strong and earthy hops with a hint of spiciness.
m - medium and slick.
d - overall a good beer but falls a bit short of my expectations.

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Photo of CraftEyeDoc
3.8/5  rDev -8.9%

Alcohol is too noticeable for me. It is very warming right from the first sip. Not what I am looking for in a DIPA. Some sweetness with nice hop flavor but alcohol is on the back end too. Just not what I am looking for in a DIPA.

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Photo of accordselux
3.8/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

Amber colored with a decent and persistent head.

Smells of grapefruit and pineapple. The taste is similar- a sweetness of a combination of candied oranges and pineapple at first, followed by grapefruit of the hops. Finishes with a resiny bitterness.

Continual carbonation keeps the beer light on the tongue, and it has a good consistency.

Drinkability is not high for me. The bitter aftertaste makes it difficult to continue drinking. The alcohol is incredibly well masked, as well.

I've decided I prefer sweeter or more balanced DIPA's, such as Hopslam and Abrasive Ale.

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Photo of Wobbly
3.8/5  rDev -8.9%

I found this beer to be a bit too much, even for this style. It lakes the balance and nuance of other IPA's. I prefer Bell's new release, Mars, to this for sure. Still worth trying.

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Photo of auroracrisis
3.8/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Got this as a freakin' extra in a trade. Thanks Brad! Never thought I'd be able to try this one.

Pours a golden orange with a one finger head. Looks almost identical to Two Hearted ale, which is a glorious looking beer so no complaints here. The head dissipates after a few minutes to a ring of foam with spotty lacing as the beer is consumed. Not bad.

Still some decent hop citrusy character in the smell after almost 3 months of being in the bottle. Almost no bittering, just juicy hops. Man, this one probably blew people out of the water fresh if it's still smelling this good after 3 months. I checked the batch number on Bell's site and it said this was bottled on 8/28/09 (batch 9306). Lots of sweet malts in the smell too.

Taste is dominated by hops up front. As you swallow there is more hops, this time bittering and a little bit of alcohol and some malts. Pretty good tasting but the alcohol is kind of turning me off a bit. Strange. I bet fresh the alcohol wouldn't be noticeable at all but here I can really taste it.

Mouthfeel is good. Decently carbonated, not chewy, with a medium body. No complaints.

Drinkability is not the best. I think it's the alcohol presence in this that is taking away from it. Both the affects of it and the taste. Oh well, wish I could have tried this fresh. I'm sure it was awesome. Thanks for the opportunity, Brad!

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Photo of kbutler1
3.8/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle. Pours a burnt orange almost burnt sienna color with a slight white head that forms a nice coasted atop the brew. Malty sweet aroma with graefruit type notes in the nose. The first sip yields a fairly malty brew that is pretty sweet on the upfront and just when you think "where are the hops?" BAM the hop bitterness plows into your mouth and on your tongue. Citrus rind type bitterness with some floral tastes. Medium mouthfeel. Not bad but nothing too crazy either and not worth the minimal hype that it comes with. To me I think there are other regular everyday DIPA's that are just as good and better. Worth a try though if you can find.

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Photo of Lillenk
3.81/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Has a nice dark tan almost red color. Not as much head as I usually get from this glass.

I have a cold so the smell was way less than expected but probably mostly due to the cold.

Taste is very good. Smacks you with hops on the front but rounds out really nicely without just hiding the bitter with sweet. Very well rounded.

Mouthfeel was nice. It was surprisingly easy to drink for a DIPA.

Overall a great beer.

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Photo of ChadQuest
3.81/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Excited to try this, wasn't sure if i'd ever get around to getting a bottle. Thanks to Beerisheaven for the hookup!

Have you ever seen a Natural Sunburst Gibson Les Paul? Thats what this beer looks like. Just deep orange tones that are inviting and relaxing to look at while still having that sharp edge to it. beautiful color.

With Hopslam IMO having possibly(probally) the best aroma of any beer ever, one of the things most anticipated from Oracle was its aroma.
Oracle is way zestier, and less tropical them Slam, orange zest up the nose, with a paint thinner sharpness and burn also.

taste follows the aroma. orange and alcohol. doesnt hide it's strength well.
Alot more Brash then Slam, not as refined, but maybe this is from the months old it is, but it is still alot more bitter then any other Bells IPA. Interesting. It grows on me the more i drink it. really does.

One bottle is enough for now, but i'll buy some to revisit if it's released again someday.I'm really stoked i got to give this beer a greeting and learn what it's all about, but it's not so good to make me buy a case like Hopslam.

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Photo of wifehatesthebike
3.82/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Amber color with a light thin creamy head.

S: Candied orange, pine and hints of bitterness. The smell hints of alcohol as well.

T: Initial surge of tropical fruit hops and hop oil followed by a warming from the alcohol. End flavors of piney bitterness that lingers for quite some time.

M: Average for the style, not great not poor.

O: For me this beer is great except the alcoholic flavor comes through too much after the initial hop bite. I prefer my DIPA's a bit cleaner on the lingering flavor, but this is still quite a good choice.

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Photo of fakedelight
3.82/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very light amber color with a good stable head.

The smell is very complex with alot of fruity aromas. My wife says canned peaches. I didn't get that, but I did get a huge citrus-like hop aroma, Probably from Cascade hops. There is also alot more going on that I couldn't really decipher.

Taste is very hoppy and pleasing. All I really taste is hops at first. A strong malt backbone is noticably present, but is drowned out by all the hops. Also, a strong alcohol taste is there, but the hops do a nice job masking that as well.

Overall, if you like double IPA's, this is a nice in-your-face DIPA. The only negative thing I can think of is as this beer warms, the alcohol becames more noticable and harsh. Being over 10%, this sucker is probably going to warm quite a bit before you finish.

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Photo of Murchmac
3.83/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

So pythia was the oracle of Delphi and this beer is like Apollo giving sunshine to the world. Nah, its really a beer in a bottle I got form a trade from dukedevil0. Thanks, this was the beer I really wanted.

Pours with a big head that quickly evaporates into a grapefruit yellowish lemony yellow. Some dark hues thrown in for posterity.

Citrus hops, sweet sweet malts.

Bitter, resiny, pineapple, lemons, bitter hops, some heat

A little too bitter, not enough sweetness for my tastes, but I wouldnt kick it out of bed. Solid DIPA.

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Photo of adamette
3.83/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Live review. Poured from the 12 oz. bottle that I bought at Save-On Tobacco & Beverage in Mentor, Oh last week for $2.99. Wally(the proprieter of the store)'s sister alerted me to it without my asking and it was behind the counter. They are very cool to me indeed! Poured into my Cooperstown Beverage Trail pint glass. Batch number 9901.

A Off white thick, creamy head that leaves great lacing on the inside of the glass over a glowing, golden caramel body. Really good look. 4.5

S Grapefruit tart, bitterness over a base of sweet, syrupy malt. The smell is everything that anyone would want a DIPA to be. It is interesting and inviting. It smells like a hell of a "big" beer! 4.0

T Yep, the taste flows directly from the smell. The grapefruit tart/bitterness over the sweet, syrupy malt with the bitterness lingering far longer than the sweetness. This is a good DIPA but I thought that Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster had more to offer in terms of DIPA. This one is a pleasure to taste none the less. 4.0

M As the smell suggested, this is one big beer! From the bigness of the hops bitterness to the huge malt sweetness and the 10%ABV there really is nothing small or thin about the feel of this beer. This is right in line with the style and in fact is a good example of the style's feel. 4.0

D This is simply not a highly drinkable beer. Pick your reason: 1.) ABV 2.) Hops bitterness 3.) Filling and huge malt sweetness and possibly 4.) cost. Despite all of that, I drank and enjoyed every drop! 3.0

Notes: Really glad to have the opportunity to try this one from Bell's! Also: my bottle lists the ABV as 10.0%

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Photo of maxcoinage
3.84/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured 12oz bottle (bottled 8/8/13) into a snifter. Thanks to my buddy Mike for holding on to this for me!

Color is a hazy golden, head was white, couple fingers and left some good lacing on the glass.

Aroma is full of hops! Pine, citrus, and a bit of malt

Flavor is a burst of hops, a bit of onion (maybe would be better a bit more fresh) , definite noticeable booze, quite a bitter finish

Mouthfeel - The body is actually not as heavy as I'd expect. Medium carb, coats the mouth a bit

Overall - its a good DIPA but not close to the level of Hopslam, although I'd like to have tried this a bit more fresh.

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Photo of StoneTSR
3.84/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From notes taken this past fall:

APPEARANCE: Reddish-gold in color with a slight haze, topped by a bubbly, white head that maintained itself for a couple minutes. Lots of pretty lacing lined all three sides of the glass that were not being sipped from.

SMELL: Pine dominates the smell, but notes of citrus, particularly orange, are present. Not as strong of a nose as I would like in a DIPA, but not a bad one.

TASTE: Some toasty malts and caramel flavors are immediately apparent, yet somehow this is not an overwhelmingly sweet beer. A piney and grassy hop flavor balance the sweet side out and make this a strong, but bitter and very, very tasty Double IPA. I'm impressed. Towards the end of the glass some hints of grapefruit began to creep in, providing a nicer and nicer, dry aftertaste as the beer went down. Odd, but I liked it.

MOUTHFEEL: Excellent mouthfeel. The Oracle has more sparkle than I expected from it, especially after trying the Hopslam. I expected less of a bite, but at the same time, this is by no means an abrasive beer to drink. It goes down easy, it just rips some taste buds off on the way down. Pretty awesome.

OVERALL: The first few sips were not exactly tough to get down, but shortly after I began drinking The Oracle it became extraordinarily easy to drink. A nice dry finish and aftertaste combined with a complex, flavorful and slightly sweet flavor up front make this a tough beer to let go of. Like most good DIPAs, this is dangerously drinkable. As a side note, it's almost a shame that Bell's makes it. If it was another brewer's top DIPA, it would likely get a lot more attention, but I think it gets overshadowed by Hopslam.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
3.84/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - The beer was a lighter copper color with a modest white head.

Smell - In the aroma, one notes the orange in the aroma. The aroma was a little atypical of a DIPA. I did not detect pine or a strong citric presence.

Taste - My first thought was "This tastes like hopped orange soda". At the front, the beer is sweet. Then, it takes a turn toward bitter at the back of the throat. There is a high presence of resin in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - I thought this was a little thin for a DIPA. In mouthfeel, it resembles a single IPA. In taste, it is much more of a DIPA.

Overall - This is a Solid DIPA, but I don't think it is worth the effort some people put into getting this beer.

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Photo of BigDaddyWarbuxx
3.84/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This is a no-nonsense IPA. There's no citrus to it, and there's no pine to it. It's hops, front and center. There's also a strong alcohol feel to it.

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Photo of Sammy
3.85/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I liked the orange coloured body with a beige topping of foamy head. A decent DIPA with in your-face assertive hops so it hits the spot. Understated for the astringency it could have. Good drinkability, however I was not overwhelmed. I like a number of IPAs better than DIPAs, the case again here.

Had it on tap at the brewery 7 months later and it hit the spot. Hoppy aroma.Very drinkable though carbonation above average. Very good citrus hops.

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Photo of KDawg
3.85/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

had this on tap and it poured a dark orange color with a decent sized foamy head

Very aromatic with richer tones of hops, citrus and some florals as well

Medium/full feel that is really plush and smooth. It is a bit slight bit boozy though

While the alcohol was a bit noticeable, this was a really good DIPA. It was on the richer side but with a freshness to it as well

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Photo of iadler
3.85/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to exitmusic00 for bringing this beer over for "mini-tasting" while we were packing a box for our tasting partner bif. Poured into my Fantome tulip. Bottled 8/12.

A- Pours a light hazy orange with a one finger head that dissipates slowly. A few lines of lacing are left behind.

S- Pine and grass upfront followed by pineapple, mango and apricot. Grapefruit and orange zest are also present.

T- A huge amount of pine that assaults the taste buds. Sweet bready malt, floral hops, pineapple, mango, apricot, grapefruit, and orange zest follow after. The tropical notes are less noticeable in the taste.

M- Medium carbonation and body with a slightly creamy mouthfeel. Finishes very dry and fairly boozy.

O- I was a little disappointed with this beer. It's a hop bomb for sure, but it is pretty boozy (dare I say, more boozy than hopslam with the lack of honey) The pine and grass hops were dominant. Worth trying, but not something that I would passionately seek out.

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Photo of mulder1010
3.85/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes. 12 oz bottle poured into a globe glass

A-- Poured a hazy golden brown. Off white head that went to film quickly. Good head retention and good lacing to this.

S-- Very earthy smell of pine, citrus and grapefruit. Slight smell of alcohol and doses of toffee.

T-- Earthy taste. Lots of juicy grapefruit and orange. Also healthy toffee taste.

M-- Very hearty feel. Low carbonation and heavy feel to this. Felt very dirty, or grainy toffee with grapefruit and orange.

D-- Western US DIPA's are more me with the doses of citrus and smaller amounts of Carmel or toffee. Still a good beer but was not that fond of the grainy toffee feel and dirty grapefruit and orange. Would seek out again. Did feel the ABV to this and in some ways prefer the more hidden West Coast versions.

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Photo of Buck89
3.85/5  rDev -7.7%
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 Kadonny
3.85/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from tap at TJs in Paoli PA into a snifter glass.

A: A medium orange color with a one finger white head. Glass lacing is left on the entire glass and is sticky never leaving.

S: Sweetness. Sweet fruits, caramel malt, pine and some herbal hops.

T: Citrus flavors start off with grapefruit, mango, pineapple which give way to the huge caramel malt sweetness that builds. Some bitterness creeps in towards the rear with some pine and herbal notes. Finish remains bitter with the sweetness turning almost sugary and a huge alcohol kick. Finishing flavors really linger too.

M: Full, coating, sweet and bitter, very boozy and nice carbonation.

O: I had really, really great expectations for this beer and felt let down. The sweetness on this beer does not work near as well as Hopslam and I think the booze shows too much.

Overall I'm really glad I got to try this on tap, and had huge hopes that it could rival Hopslam, but alas it didn't. Solid beer, but not one I would go out of my way to get again as there are much better DIPAs out there.

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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
93 out of 100 based on 750 ratings.
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