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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 BigMike
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured an amber color. Almost apple juice like. A thin Khaki head of about one finger tops it off.

S: Very piney and tropical with a big alcohol presence.

T: I can sum this up in one word...HOPS. Huge tropical fruit notes. Dominated by pineapple. The alcohol is there big time as well. Lot's of burn on the finish and extremely bitter.

M: No complaints here. Medium bodied with good carbonation.

Overall: Not the best DIPA i've had. In fact, it's not the best DIPA Bell's produces. (Hopslam) But it's decent and will punch you in the mouth with aggresive hops and alcohol. If you can get it, it's worth trying for sure.

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Photo of HopHunter19
3.77/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

7/2/2015 bottle - this was at one of my favorite local stores and I'm not sure why the distribution took so long with this one, having taken 2 1/2 months to get from Michigan to SW Missouri.

A - nice golden, clear beer, white fluffy head that leaves nice lacing
S - Clean hoppy smell, pine, grapefruit, orange peel
T - Again this beer has a very clean taste, with the hops being mostly piney and grapefruit flavors, with some light fruits in there
M - light-medium, alc covered, aftertaste is piney hops
O - I didn't get as much fruit character as some people who have reviewed this seem to be getting, but at 2 1/2 months out I'd expect that this isn't a completely fair review. I'm not sure why it took 2 1/2 months for a beer like this to make the 12 hour drive from MI to MO, but either way I gotta knock a few points off for the slow distro. I hope it doesn't take 3 months to transport HopSlam to MO this winter!

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Photo of PVMT
3.77/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Aroma is pine, with hints of citrus and caramel. Taste is piney with a matching malt backbone, that gets increasingly bitter. The finish is bitter, bordering on unpleasant.

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Photo of Omnium
3.77/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle > Sensory PIls glass
A - Pours a very nice gold color 1 finger of a fizzy head, nice thick lacing on the sides.
S - Big juicy hops, pineapple, mango, citrus, pine, rye, pepper, caramel and toffee malts. There's also a strong alcohol presence.
T - Big lime and grapefruit flavors, those are definitely the dominant qualities in this, then you get some overly ripe tropical fruits, kinda like fruit cocktail, the mid way through you get some caramel and toffee kinda sweet malts, a little pepper and rye underneath, some pine bitterness that sneaks up then really gets you. Some alcohol burn on the end.
M - Thick, chewy, lots of abrasive bitterness, cloying flavor.
O - This does get better as it warms up, it reminds me a lot of Great Lakes' Lake Erie Monster with the abundance of ripe fruit flavor, but the alcohol burn and smell is too much, and there's a weird rye peppery aftertaste thats just making it disappointing.

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Photo of Nachojon
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Thick foamy head, lace coats glass throughout.

S- Smooth caramel. Some hops and lemon peel.

T- MADNESS. Almost medicinal, bandaid piney hops and warm booze with a brown sugar finish. Like no IPA i have ever tasted.

M- Sticky but not unpleasant. Smooth and dense at the same time.

O- I don't know if one pour does this thing justice, would love to try again.

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Photo of maximum12
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks chipped in the direction of notCreative for smuggling a few bottles out of Michigan & dropping them with me here in the Cities. Thanks Matt.

Pour is a nearly opaque orange with little head, but what exists is clingy as a bad girlfriend. Smell is a psychic kick of citrus & grapefruit, with something strange & dank lurking underneath. Odd.

Comparisons with HopSlam are perhaps inevitable, as Bell's makes another legendary DIPA that's one of my all-time favorites. This is more aggressive than HS IMHO. Hops are front, center, back, under, sideways, & sucking liberally on my tonsils. I hate to say this, but it's borderline bitter overload; that's not an experience I've ever had before. The grapefruit & pine are so hot they overload the senses & make me start sweating like a jalapeno sandwich. Couldn't drink more than one of these in a sitting.

Well. Very good beer, but I've finally hit my hophead wall. Too much. Really enjoying it, but give me some HopSlam any day!

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Photo of thetomG
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Above average appearance (but a little more clear than I prefer) - orangeish color, very nice ring of dense foam left around the glass after the initial head diminishes leaving behind a ton of sticky lacing. . Nice piney hop-filled aroma with a slight hint of citrusy fruit. Flavor is a good blend of bitter hop and malty flavors that try (but fail) to balance things out - the bitterness clearly wins out here, which takes away from the drinkability.

Good beer, but given the limited availability and my preference for other more readily available DIPAs, I'm not too likely to seek this one out all too often.

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Photo of hooliganlife
3.79/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

pours a golden yellow with huge thick creamy fluffy head. sticky lacing. big retention.

faint citrus. lots of tropical fruit when poured but once it sat for a few, nose is barely there. searching hard, i fond some booze and hops

mostly bitter pine and resin. a bit one dimensional. intense with the malts and booze. decent but nothing pops out at me that is grabbing my attention. some grapefruit in the finish.

nice chewy body and moderate carbonation.

expected more from this, it was good. maybe its because i waited like 2-3 years to try this.

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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 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 ClavisAurea
3.79/5  rDev -8.9%
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 -8.9%
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 -8.9%
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 -8.7%

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 -8.7%
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 -8.7%

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 -8.7%
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 -8.7%
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 -8.4%
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 -8.4%
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 -8.2%
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 -8.2%
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 -7.9%
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 -7.9%
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 -7.7%
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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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.16 out of 5 based on 2,679 ratings.
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