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: 755 | Ratings: 2,606
Photo of amidabha
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

vigorous pour into a sam adams perfect pint produced a head a quarter inch from the lip leaving lacing down the entire glass. to be honest this beer is all about the fumes produced from the hops and it doesn't disappoint this year either.

piney, wonderful hops are expelled into my nose with a huge bit on the tongue followed by a strong alcohol bite. almost a complete lack of malt character from this beer which is great for me.

i purchased a few bottles last year and remembered to drink this faster so it stays cold and delicious. this is not necessarily a good thing since the alcohol content is so high. well worth it and probably should have accepted my beer stores offer of two bottles instead of this one.

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Photo of ritzkiss
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle from Viggo - dude's a generous fellow.

Pours a beautiful caramel orange with 2 fingers of bone white/yellow foam that dies and immediately leaves sticky lacing on the glass.

Nose is lush and fruity - pineapple abounds, hints of orange and grapefruit, a hint of mango, a little pine resin - behind all that you can tell there's a good amount of sweet caramel malt.

Ridiculously drinkable DIPA. Tropical fruits up front, loads of citrus in the middle and a hint of oily pine resin thrown in for good measure. Nice but not extreme bitterness from the middle on. A sweet caramel blends with a hint of pale roast to give a substantial malt backdrop - very balanced. Just a hint of booze in the finish.

Could easily drink this all night and it would kick your ass. Extremely well made. Thanks Eric!

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Photo of TheFightfan1
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Total Wine in Dunedin. Bottled date of 8/11/11. Poured into a snifter. Nice clear orange color with an amazing thick white heading. Left tightly bubbled rings throughout the tasting around the glass.

Right out of the gate crazy hoppy aroma. Nice secondary of some tropical fruit and decent sweet malty background. Just an overwhelming floral aroma though takes the cake.

Taste starts out a little fruity nothing insane just a jab of this and then wham a heavy hoppy intrusion invades the palate and shreds it to pieces. It is prolonged by a heavy sugary hot alcohol that just sits on the palate and scolds it.

Mouth is medium bodied, excellent carbonation, thick and sugary on the palate but is smooth.

All and all a great IIPA but it did leave a hot boozey feeling the stomach and on the palate. Hopslam is still king here but this isn't a bad second.

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Photo of RustyDiamond
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 9306 packaged on August 28.

Hazy orange pour with a solid finger of near white head. Frothy with some nice bubbles. Clean with some very fine hop molecules.

Aroma of hot pine sappy grapefruit rind. Some sweet fruit too...peaches maybe cantaloupe.

Hits you in the back of the throat immediately upon impact. Hop vapor explosion. Floral hoppy to bitchin' hot in a second. Chewy piney grapefruit. Phenol felt in the mouthfeel surrounded by hop power. Faint taste of sourdough pretzels. Very tart and chewy in the middle...grapefruit rind x 10.

Wicked lacing up and down the glass. Very intense and very good.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Happy birthday, Dad, this one's for you. tangfoot was extremely generous, and gave me a couple of these for nothing. Thank you, Fred!

A very attractive pour, clear amber with a big, off-white head with great retention. Gorgeous lacework is left as the head gently recedes

Such a pungent hop aroma, I fear that a lightstruck version of this beer will smell like a skunk apocalypse. Rousing pine and grapefruit with a mild sweetness present. Candied orange

Wow. Opens with a strong bitterness with a resiny, piney, weed-like flavor. Mildly spicy, a touch of alcohol heat is noticeable. The hop flavor is pretty top notch, with a lot of pine and grapefruit. Sweetness, while present in form of a mild caramel-like character, is restrained and does it's fair bit in tempering the bitterness. The finish is fabulously bitter, like drinking pine sap. Medium-high in carbonation with a medium-light body and a fabulous finish, this is excellent on the palate.

Thoroughly drinkable, though my currently addled brain is swimming from a sleepless night halfway into this beer. Very highly recommended.

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Photo of sprucetip
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Slightly hazy, active, pale golden/orange, modest white head fades gradually and leaves thick lacing. Gorgeous and inviting.

SMELL Wow! Peach and citrus hop notes prominent initially. Rich malty sweetness backs well but stays in the background. Booze is almost completely absent.

TASTE Piny bitterness is asserive but not obnoxious. Peachy and citrus hop influences balanced expertly, through the middle anyhow, by toasty caramel malty sweetness. The hops win the battle, ultimately, but it's a good fight for a spell. Just a bit of booze is noticeable.

FEEL rich, full body and luxurious viscous texture. Slight dryness in the finish, and a kinda harsh lingering bitterness.

OVERALL I am so very grateful (thank you BuckeyeNation!) for the opportunity to try this. Hop heads would be foolish to forego this one, and may even want to actively seek it out. Ranks right up there with the best of the style.

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Photo of shangwang
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Dogfish IPA glass.

Hazy and golden and color with a nice full finger of fluffy white head. Lots of thick lacing on the glass as it reduces. Great smell - grass and grapefruit with some pine. Loads of bitterness in the taste. It leave my smacking my lips with a dry sensation. Great airy mouthfeel with lots of carbonation. Really enjoyed this one - happy that I was lucky enough to get a bottle!

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Photo of rangerred
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours a clear light gold with a pretty thick one finger white head. Large chunks of lacing cling to the sides of the glass. A very good looking beer for this strength.

Aroma is chock full of tropical fruit along with pine. A very juicy aroma that is quite inviting and mouth-watering.

Lots of juicy citrus in the flavor as well with only the slightest hint of booziness. Nothing like what would be expected of a beer that is 10%. There are some layers of pine underneath the citrus along with a fairly strong bready malt backbone. Bitterness is quite high as is the dryness. The dry mouthfeel really impresses me and makes this beer quite drinkable.

Overall, an absolutely outstanding IIPA and one of the best I have had. Many beers like this are a sweet, boozy mess but this one manages to pack in the alcohol but not the sweetness withough sacrificing body. An awesome beer.

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Photo of Lunch
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from a 12oz. bottle acquired in a trade into my Bell's tulip glass at the appropriate temperature (03/05/10). I have wanted to try this ever since I had my first HopSlam earlier this year.

A: Beautiful darker, golden amber with some nice orange hues capped with 2 fingers of an off-white head with great retention leaving nice lace.

S: Not quite as good as fresh HopSlam but very close with intense and exceptional bitter tropical fruit hop aroma with tones of citrus, grass, and slight, but apparent sweet malt. Bitterness is certainly apparent.

T: The flavor profile is an exact mirror of the bouquet with bitterness and citrus hops leading the way. Some grassy bitterness along with some tropical are found as well. I'm loving the bitterness from this beer, perfectly done.

M: Medium-bodied with some nice fullness along with moderate creamy carbonation. Nice degree of bitterness in the aftertaste.

D: For a bitter 10.4% DIPA this is very drinkable, but the bitterness detracts just a bit.

Overall this was an exceptional experience and another great DIPA from Bell's. Not quite fresh HopSlam, but if you are looking for well-done bitterness, than this is your DIPA. Highly Recommended.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review after initial rating (fall, 2013:4.25 straight rating).
Bottle date 08/08/2014:
I had this about a year ago and really enjoyed it. I was still experiencing the cast array of good craft beers, was more of a ticker, and figured I'd be able to get it more often (I had yet to really understand seasonal brews). I can't believe I turned down a chance back then to get more of it.
Another revisit in Aug 2015 of bottle dated 7/10, adding category ratings.

A: almost perfect translucent-to-hazy golden orange. Beautiful foamy head grows nicely and sticks around. The lacing is copious on this one.

S: nose is a tad grainy, but sweetness is honey in nature. I actually expected more hops in the nose, but maybe it's a bit lost after 2 months. What I get is more floral than fruity, more meadow than farm, but distinguishing the scents is hard (3.75)
2nd revisit: with some warmth I get some tropical notes and something like honeydew.

T: classic grapefruit rind and pine IPA to me. Bitter from the get go, even for a DIPA. There is an underlying sweetness that I usually like more up front, but works for me in this beer just fine. The sweetness is more raw sugar-based to me than any beer I've had before, but again, isn't the focus of the taste. This is more dry hop-bomb, west coast-ish in nature. The combination maybe brings some tropical hints, but I feel I am stretching a bit on this. (4.25-4.5)
2nd re-visit: when colder, the sweetness almost overwhelms. At a more proper temp the grapefruit rind comes out, but the tropical notes are there a it more obvious than I indicated before.

M: very smooth, carbonation obvious in appearance is just there to enhance otherwise dry feel. Body is medium, alcohol is pretty well hidden (4.75)
2nd revisit: the alcohol heat is a bit heavier than I noticed before.

O: this did live up to my anticipation even if it didn't exceed it. Given how that usually works, that's a win. A bit more bitterness than I expected (I really didn't recall the taste profile, just that I liked it), but well done to me as I have grown away from this profile over the year. (4.5)

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Photo of jacewg
4.41/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Good looking IPA. Apricot/orange in color. Two finger head. Drops off a little bit - to be expected. Leaves a small ring. Good lacing. Pretty cloudy.

Aroma: BIG. Lots of peach, tropical fruit,pineapple, and citrus. Super resiny and dank. An enormous hop bomb of a nose. Light malt sweetness

Taste: More resiny pine than on the nose. Big bitterness. Again lots of peach, tropical fruit, pineapple, and sweet citrus. The hops and light, sweet malt meld so well. For 10%, this is really light on its feet. Drinks like a double IPA and not a hoppy barleywine or strong ale or anything else. Medium-length, dry, bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Wonderful. Medium bodied with low to medium carbonation. Gives the beer the appropriate silky feel while never becoming cloying. Really well done.

Overall: Intended for hopheads. The bitterness is high and could be too high for some, but this beer is more enjoyable than Hopslam to this palate.

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Photo of Franz4
4.41/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Color appears as an alost crystal clear copper with an off white head about a 1/4 inch, as it settled left some slight lacing.

S- surprisingly sweet citrus smell, almost like candy orange slices, what stands out most is what's missing--which is the hoppy, piney scent that accompanies most dipa's. I'm very intrigued by this beer.

T- The hops come through in the taste in a very balanced manner. Still seems to have a bit of the sweet citrus noted previously, but is balanced nicely with the hoppiness. Some other complex flavors that aren't readily lending themselves to my limited vocabulary. A very complex beer.

M- Hits the mouth intensely at first, and then balances out, it's not a beer you'll drink by accident! Leaves something to chew on and ends nicely with the rich, complex tastes lingering in a pleasant aftertaste.

D- Extremely drinkable for its ABV, as I barely noticed the alcohol. I'll definitely seek this one out again, shame its in such limited quantities.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to RBlaszak for sending this beer to me.

The beer pours a clear yellow-orange color with a white head. The aroma is very fruit and is outstanding. I get a lot of orange, pineapple and papaya, as well as some pine notes.

The flavor is just as great. It is dominated by pineapple, pine and papaya. I also get a little bit of caramel malt. The bitterness is about medium and not too intense. The beer is full of hop flavor, but the bitterness is restrained enough that the beer is still very drinkable.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A great Double IPA that I am very happy I got to try.

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Photo of nickd717
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle very generously shared by largadeer on BA. Let's just say it would not surprise me to see this beer break into the Top 100 soon. It is awesome.

A - Pours hazy golden-amber with a one-finger creamy white head.

S - Awesomely intense pine and grapefruit hops as well as a hint of sweet malt.

T - Some sweet malt but mostly an incredible blast of sharp citrus and pine hops as well as light tropical fruits. The hops stay with you for a long time. Just a tiny bit maltier than a top west coast IPA like Pliny or Sculpin.

M - Palate is awesome, medium bodied with a massive hop bite and ridiculous lingering bitterness. This is about as much of a palate wrecker as you can get.

D - Well the crazy IBU level hurts this category a bit, but it still keeps you wanting more. Overall this is a hell of a DIPA.

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Photo of Shumista
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Glad to see this one around again. Batch 9901, still very fresh. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. I let it warm up just a little bit before diving in.

Pours golden amber, small off white head. Looks pretty tasty. Smells of sweet sticky malt, and citrusy hops. The best way I can describe the taste is a layering of hops. Citrusy hops and grapefruit dominate, with some earthy hops and some pine in the background. Nice caramelly backbone. It gives you that feeling in the back of your throat that a good bitter DIPA does. Very enjoyable in everywhere.

I'm glad this one lived up to my expectations. I had begun to lose some faith in Bell's after a mediocre visit to the brewpub and what I thought were very underwhelming efforts in Batch 9K and their 25th anniversary ale. I can't wait to try hopsolution and the the wild one.

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Photo of bashiba
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice toasty clear amber, with a thin off white soap ring head.

The smell is great, but yet very un double IPA like, almost no real hop smells, but a huge blast of bready and caramel malts, I really like the smell, just not at all what I expect for the style.

The flavor is mild and very balanced, tastes more like a big amber ale than a double IPA. Big Biscuit and caramel malts with a light grassy hop flavor, I like it just doesn't seem to fit the context of the style very well. The bitterness does sort of build over time, but really is an underlying element to this beer which is very malt dominated with some bitterness in the finish.

The mouthfeel does have some nice resinous qualities and a touch of warmth.

Drinkable for the size, and I like it, just seems improperly labeled and classified, more like a very nice American Strong, Barleywine, or Old Ale.

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Photo of Jwburns75
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I would say that The Oracle is better than Hopslam, I found it much more drinkable. Alcohol is well hidden for such a huge brew, plenty of citrus in the nose and taste. Very impressive.

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Photo of heebes
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours into a tulip a clear copper with two fingers of bubbly off white foam head. A thin layer of spotty lacing echos the beers decent. Nose is outstanding, a plethora of citrus, grapefruit, juicy pear, flowering hops with only a hint of malt underneath. Taste is excellent, bitter hop juices, pine resin, sweet fresh fruit with a mellow malt profile appearing in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium heavy, dry at the end but clean.
Overall, an absolutely incredible DIPA from Bell's, how they can brew two of the best beers in the style is remarkable. This beer doesn't need to rest on any hop-pun name, its quiet and quaint appearance is backed by its incredible taste. Only down-side: its even more rare and limited than Bells spring DIPA release, and because of this was limited to one bottle per customer where I picked it up, at 3.50. I consider myself lucky to get to try this beer, if you get the chance, it should be an easy decision.

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Photo of Beertracker
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bell's The Oracle (DIPA Ale) [Batch #9306] pours up with a soapy, off-white head that persists above the slightly hazy, orangish-amber colored body. The hop accenuated aroma is mildly pungent with fresh citrusy Pacific Northwest hops. The overall character is quite fruity (apricot, grapefruit, pineapple) with some spicy piney undertones. There's a sweet underlying graininess with hints of biscuits, crackers & clover honey. The flavor starts off very cloying with lots of caramel & honey sweetness followed by some complimentary toasted character that's eventually underscored by a marked bitterness. The finish is bold, fruity & noticeably warming. This full-bodied DIPA is a bit syrupy with a touch of grassy hop astringency which are really the only minor detractors. My interpretation is that The Oracle delivers a plethora of flavor and she's certainly worth seeking coucil with. Here's to crew from Kalamazoo & their all knowing Oracle!

CHEERS! Beertracker

*Taster's Note: Thanks to thehand for the opportunity!

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Photo of TCgoalie
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber color with a quarter finger cream colored head. A good amount of lacing sticks on the side from agitation.

The smell shows plenty of tropical hoppy fruits such as pineapple and mango with some orange as well.

There are all kinds of fruits in the taste; Orange, lemon, grapefruit, mango, pineapple. The end of the taste shows some piney bitterness. There is also a barrel aged like mellowness on the tongue.

The mouthfeel has a full and heavy feel to it with minimum carbonation. It feels almost like there is some mercury weighting the mouthfeel on the tongue.

The bitterness and mouthfeel are the only clues that this is a heavy hitter. With Hopslam and The Oracle, it is clearly seen that Bell's makes some of the best DIPA's around.

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Photo of HosP
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Took some time off from drinking... great welcome back; The Oracle. Hopefully saw something good in my future!

A - Poured very nice amber color. Nice one finger off white head with nice lacing on the glass. Slight haze to it. Very good looking beer.

S - Very hopped up smell. Nice citrus notes, with pineapple standing out the most. Some pine hints mixed with caramel at the end.

T - Great flavors that contrast but balance each other out very well. Lots of hops upfront. Big bitterness with the pine and citrus flavors. Quickly turns sweet though with caramel malts. Bitterness lingers a bit, but malts help mellow out at the end.

M - Lighter body. Moderate carbonation. With the bitterness upfront still goes down smooth. Get some alcohol taste as it goes down the more it warms.

D - Couldn't wait to try this big DIPA. Didn't let me down. Wasn't really my favorite DIPA out there, as I can think of 3 or 4 that are better. However the contrast of flavors is done very well. Gives you an interesting and satisfying drink!

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Photo of zeff80
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a clear, copper color with a one-finger, off-white head of bubbly foam. It left thick rings of sticky lace on the glass.

S - It smelled very piney with citrus aromas. It had a slight roasted malt aroma, too.

T - Fantastic. Big piney flavor with a citrus kick, nice spices and burnt toast maltiness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry, clean finish.

O - This is outstanding. So glad I was able to try a pint on tap. Great beer.

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Photo of bonkers
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to goodstrongbeer for this one. The pour is orange with an abundant white head, lots of lace. The aroma is tropical, a ton of sweet pineapple. The flavor matches the nose, pineapple, citrus, tropical fruit. The finish lingers with moderate bitterness. The beer is solid medium in body, smooth mouthfeel. A great beer, definitely worth seeking out.

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Photo of nrbw23
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a very slight hazy copper color with a thin white head. Head has good retention and covers the top of the brew. Leaves some very nice layered lacing.

S- Smells is sweet caramel malts, a bit of bread, spicy hops, citrus hops, piney, and a bit of sugar. Pretty complex but hops are here for sure.

T- Hops are everywhere here with a bit of malts in here too, but not much. Citrus hops are here orange and pineapple but the pine is everywhere.

M- Medium in body and nice carbonation.

D- Very easy to drink for sure. Alcohol is hidden nicely. I'd love to have a side by side with this and Hopslam. Excellent brew.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

cloudy amber brew
smell of hops too

bracing grapefruit
let's go pop

taste is biscuit
hoppy fun
plenty of citrus
for everyone

mouthfeel bracing
fizzy, dry
not too coating
this is fly!

Indeed it is
another solid one
from those kalamazoo kids

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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
93 out of 100 based on 755 ratings.
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