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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: 2,678
Photo of wvsabbath
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Amber brown/tan, copper, nice 2 inch creamy head, lots of lacing.

Smell - Strong, piney hops, some alcohol, grapefruit, orange, bout all you get is hops since there so dominate, Wow.

Taste - Wow, strong malts that i wasnt expecting. Hops are huge, very acidic hop bite. Carmal and booze make up alot of the backbone flavors. Grapefruit and a bitter almost lime-like flavor comes at the end.

Mouthfeel - A crusher, sipper, tounge whipper. Tounge is beat to hell with hops, malts and booze. Palette gets some fruit sweetness, carmal, and booze. Aftertaste is dry, bitter and long lasting.

Overall - Its for sure a double ipa. Much more malty then i expected, has a malty like simularity to great divines hercules. Nothing fancy or smooth about it. Its strong, hoppy as hell and meant to sip and enjoy on occasion. Founders devil dancer is compairable with the strong flavors and booze in the drink, but this is smoother, a little cheaper, but even harder to get ahold of. Worth a try for sure if dare...

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Photo of ratedz
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden orange color from a 12oz bottle into a Bell's snifter. A thin white head leaves a fair amount of lacing down the glass.

Citrus is dominant in the nose. Grapefruit, maybe some orange, backed up by hints of sweet caramel. The blast of citrus reminded me of the first time I had Hopslam, yet it is a different variety of citrus notes.

Taste backs up the scents. A lot of juicy citrus hops followed by a sweet malty backbone. A slight bitterness is present, but it is fairly well balanced.

Mouth feel is smooth with mild carbonation. The Oracle was a very drinkable DIPA for 10.4%. I probably wouldn't have guessed the ABV to be as high as it is. I have a couple more bottles of it and might have to try it side-by-side with Hopslam sometime to compare the two.

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Photo of screamking
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into snifter.

Appearance-pours dark apricot with a 2 finger white head. Great lacing. 4.5

Aroma-nice tropical smell, lots of mango and pineapple. Some orange and grapefruit as it warms a bit. A little bit of bready brown sugar hiding at the edge. Very nice tropical aroma. 4.5

Taste-bitter, bitter pineapple. After the bitterness fades there's a nice burst of mango sweetness. Some dank pine/earthy notes hit about mid palate. Back of the tongue stays With the bitterness and doesnt let up. Apricot and orange round out the tasting notes. 4.5

Feel-great feel for a DIPA, medium to full bodied, doesn't hide the ABV well and I kinda like that fact, its suppose to be a big beer. 4.75

Overall-honestly, this is a double that they need to make more of. It's not so incredibly great that it needs to be as limited as it is. Several brewers make beers that are very similar to this every single day. As big as Bells is I find it strange that this beer would be that expensive or time consuming to make. It's a killer double that needs to be more often. It's the only down side about this beer and for that... 4

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

LOOK: A very light orange colored brew, which is to say golden bronze, with a white foam cap. The glass is laced from the first several sips, as to be expected from any hop beast.

SMELL: Immense grapefruit and citrus pith overall. Some pine and lemongrass like aromas as well.

TASTE: Grapefruit, pineapple, and mango are equal parts in a tropical explosion. Nice bitterness but tempered by pale and biscuity malt base. Still, very juicy and drinks effortlessly. The hops cut what little alcohol flavor there is to almost nothing.

FEEL: Surprisingly light and crisp on the palate, with good complexity of bright juicy hop flavor and resinous bitterness to go along with a biscuity, almost toffee like malt profile.

OVERALL: This beer is fantastic. Great hop flavor, dangerously drinkable and quite light and quenching. A case of this would be a timely investment.

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Photo of HopDiggityDawg
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter
Bottled on 8/12/11
Smell - The only aspect of this beer that did not blow me away was the nose. I don't buy beer to smell it I buy it to drink it so enough said.
Taste - Now we are talking! You know how liquor drinkers can taste the vast difference between top shelf stuff and well drinks? This is a top shelf DIPA. I think the Oracle has a real west coast taste. I avoided the temptation to compare it to Hopslam because of my existing love of everything about Hopslam and because they are two very different, although amazing DIPAs. Great hop presence, pine and resin take over in the finish. Mouthfeel is exceptional, just the right body, creamy without being syrupy. If you can get your hands on this one do not pass up this beer!

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I picked up these bottles at Holiday Market in Royal Oak for $3.99 each. I'm totally stoked to try this new creation from Bell's: The beer could not look better, it's hazy translucent - goldenrod color with a thick frothy foam that lasts the duration of the drink and laces in thick sheets. The first sniff brings Hopslam to mind, strong hop aromatics and a hint of honey, this is pungent with grapefruit and other acidic citrus. The taste confirms that this is among the hoppiest beers I've ever tried. There's a lot of sweetness but not the cloying type you get from crap like 120 minute. This is a master craft beer that pushes about as far as possible in the IPA direction without losing it's critical essence of drinkability. Not even close to balanced with the malts, no fear of the barley-wine boundary (at least while fresh).

If I had to sub-categorize this I'd call it a west-coast DIPA, possibly similar to Pliny the Younger. But it's been a while since I've had Younger, and in any case this beer seems definitive enough itself. I'm glad I had the chance to try it and I'm glad I have more bottles. Completely recommended to hop heads.

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Photo of throwthechaff
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glad to have got my hands on a 12oz bottle of this double ipa. Easily the best Michigan double ipa that I have had (unless you count hopslam, which will reign supreme and insanely expensive). It has more of a citrus aroma and taste to it compared to the two hearted ipa and reminds me more of the crooked tree (which i prefer). Totally recommended if you can get your hands on one.

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Photo of GlassOfHops
4.44/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow this beer is frickin awesome.

Beautiful beer a slightly hazy orange with a pillowy white head that leaves a nice bit of lacing.

Smell isnt anything extraordinary but some nice citrus coming through.

Taste is an abrasive grapefruit hoppyness that i love. A little bit of booze comes through but not overwhelming.

Nice mouthfeel to it not too thick not too oily slick.

Well done bells. Will be buying more while its around.

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Photo of jvonsege
4.44/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Golden Amber color. A honey flavor followed by a pungent hop taste. Deep strong grapefruit flavor followed up by distinct bitterness. Long pleasant grapefruit aftertaste. Wish I could have tasted it when it was fresher. I don't taste the alcohol It's well integrated. Thick mouthful

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Biernutz for this one. Batch 9901. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Cantillon Iris glass.

A: Pours a 1 finger semi coarse, white head with decent retention. Beer is a clear orange that reveals ample carbonation. Lacing is thick and layered like a ruler measuring my sips. Great stick.

S: Very fragrant and exactly what I'd expect out of a powerful, DIPA. Strong brown sugar, pine, evergreen, resine, and citrus hops abound. This one's just a giant bouquet of flavor.

T: Sweet and rich upfront with notes of ruby red and other citrus fruits that are quickly taken over by piney hop bitterness that latches on and refuses to let go of my taste buds. This is one DELICIOUS ride. Hops just get more and more bitter as the experience goes on, elevating to enamel peeling levels just before the finish. Aftertaste is bitter and resiny and holds firmly to the inside of the cheek.

M: Medium bodied with ample carbonation. This one is a little too lively but at least it serves to aggravate the hop bitterness. Finish is messy and aftertaste lingers a long while.

D: Bell's seemingly can do no wrong in the IPA/DIPA department, Two Hearted, Hopslam, now Oracle, all are leaders in their style in my book. An amazingly well crafted beer.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of OHLRangers. Thanks Ed!

Pours a clear dark gold in color. There's a very nice inch of white head that forms on the pour. This quickly recedes to a frothy film after a few minutes.
Smell is beautiful, pungent, juicy hops. There's some subtle light malts behind it, but make no mistake this is a hop forward beer.
Taste is huge, juicy, citrusy hops. I could get lost in this beer. Absolutely beautiful in almost every aspect. Incredibly bitter in the mouthfeel. This is a full on assault on your mouth. No sign of the abv until you finish the bottle. I could get ridiculous with this beer.
This is an incredible beer. If I wanted to be picky, I would prefer a more chewy mouthfeel. But that is absolutely splitting hairs. This beer is outstanding. Hopefully this comes back again, because when my last bottle is gone, I may just shed a tear.

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Photo of Casey10
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow received this a extra from Heliossphan and couldn't be more happy.

A - pours a nice head with a golden hazy body.

S - Faint malts some citrus.

T - It's all there, grapefruit, lemon, malt so nice.

M - nice feel nothing spectacular.

D - I got two, drank one and may way want to drink the other

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Photo of Keffa
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 9901. Poured into my Hennepin glass.

A: Poured a hazy copper-ish burnt orange color, slightly off white head, not a large head, might have been due to my pour. Little puddle of head left on top, ring around the outside. Some oily lacing sticks to the glass in spots and refuses to let go. Nice looking beer, off to a good start.

S: Caramel malt, toffee, biscuits, spicy hop, a little orange peel, some pinecone, burnt sugar. Very sweet aroma, but the hops keep it in check. You know it's got hops in it, but the aroma is NOTHING like Hopslam. This one is a little decieving. Read on...

T: HOLY SHIT. I now know why this is such a highly regarded beer. Amazingly bitter, piney hops off the bat, with a slight malt sweetness keeping up, but just barely. Some citrusy notes show up, mainly orange and a tiny bit of grapefruit pith. Piney and spicy bitter hops dominate this one through the finish, though. The malt that does come through comes off as a biscuit or cracker with a caramel and slightly toasted sugar wafers. Very, very, very good beer. This is 10%? Really? Could have fooled me. Reminds me of Hopslam, if it were worked over with the refinement hammer. This one has a much better overall hop flavor, especially the piney, almost sappy flavor, and the bitterness is just perfect, IMO. The malt backbone in this one takes a backseat, where in Hopslam, the malt seems to be neck and neck with the hops. This is perfection in a DIPA for flavor, I think.

M: Oily, slick, and full, with nice carbonation. Pretty decent.

D: Oh yeah, very much so. Alcohol is so well hidden, at least to me, that I could put these away all night, and probably end up sloshed because they are that devilish.

It is a SHAME that this is a limited brew. It is FANTASTIC overall, and I think is a perfect counterbalance to Hopslam. Where Hopslam has the absolutely perfect aroma and well balanced malt/hop profile, this one has a more mediocre aroma but a much better overall hop flavor and less of the malt, allowing the bitterness and other flavors of the hops to shine. I'd have reversed the names if I were Larry. This one is more of a "hopslam" to the tastebuds.

Well done, and I'm glad I got 3 of them.


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Photo of herman77
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 8/9/13
A: Clear light orange with a fairly creamy off white head for a big DIPA. Nice lacing and decent head retention.

S: Lots of citrus, orange, ripe grapefruit, mango and pineapple with a resinous under layer. Rich carmelly malts thrown into the mix as well. A bit of booziness as it warms.

T: Follows the nose pretty close. Tons of citrus, loads of grapefruit with a bit of mango and pineapple sweetness. A big heaping dose of carmel malt to keep all the hops in check. Excellent balance, just as balanced as Hopslam.

M: Fuller body for the style. Smooth and softer carbonation.

O: Dangerously drinkable, pretty much Hopslam level. ABV is hidden well, though you can tell its a DIPA. Kind of reminds me of a slightly sweeter, maltier double Two Hearted. A sweet, maltier double IPA, just my profile. Bells really knows how to brew big DIPAs.

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Photo of Klym
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to N2168 for this much wanted DIPA. Poured into a surly darkness snifter (compliments of klikger)

This beer was worth the weight. Big layers of smell and flavor here. Over the top sweet pineapple juice swoons the tastebuds as you get slapped around by hops and surprised with a hint of chocolate and dark fruit. Some DIPAs really straddle the barley wine line, but this one just hints at it perfectly while maintaining a great IPA personality. It's a little too dry in the finish and a tad thin in the body but other than that it's just dandy.

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Photo of Tripel_Threat
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle to pint glass. Nice, thick and rich soapy head appears and stays, leaving tick amounts of lacing behind. The aroma is of a freshly opened can of mandarin oranges in heavy syrup poured over freshly cut grass. More sweet than floral. Taste is smooth and the ABV is well hidden, although there is some warmth. A bite of pine resin, with a honey smoothness in taste and feel. One to have again and again.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with an imprint on the label of 9306.

Poured into my new Bell's Brewing glass, compliments of TATTORSO, I see an attractive hazy orange ale with about a finger head of foam. Nice lacing is part of this package deal.

Taking a few whiffs, the hoppiliciousness is something to be admired. Lots of tropical fruit goodness with mangos and pineapples being dominant...like standing in the fresh produce dept at my local grocers. I *could* just sit here and keep on smelling the damn beer but on to bigger and better things like...drinking it!

First sip and whoah, baby. This puppy tastes just like the smell with the grapefruit and mango but a nice tasty taste of oranges joins the party and I'm loving it. Being supremely satisfied with what the hops are doing, I'm now searching for the malt.

There *are* some nice sweetish notes buried way back in the background here that could be coming from the fruity hoppiness but I'm not going to dwell over it. The hops rule this DIPA and that's all I have to say about that!

This is close to full bodied with lightish carbonation and is near perfection for the mouthfeel.

Drinkability? It's a no slouch DIPA weighing in at 10.4%abv but I cannot honestly say the alcohol is all that noticeable in the taste or during the swallow...just some warming after the swallow and a general feeling of all is right in the world. ;^)

This was a tough beer to find but the effort was worth it! Thanks, Bell's!!

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: With an aggressive pour, a large, rocky, eggshell head forms, eventually fading while retaining its rocky quality and leaving webs of lace on the glass. The color itself is a full copper amber color, without a ton of brightness.

Smell: Lots of citrus and tropical fruits here - grapefruit, pineapple, apricot, and tangerine. The fruits smell candied and sweet. Some booze and some light sweet malts as well.

Taste: It definitely starts out sweet, but it turns to candy and then grapefruit and pineapple hops. It reminds me of sliced grapefruit and pineapple coated in sugar and baked until it caramelized. A little booze, and then more citrus hops. Tangerine and apricot fills out the profile. A little bit of piney hops at the end. The finish is lightly bitter but also pretty clean.

Mouthfeel: This drinks about 10%, and I mean that in a good way. Rich, IPA-creamy feel, with medium carbonation. Light hop residue and lightly sticky, but overall very smooth.

Drinkability: I really just can't put this down. Solid balance after a couple of months.

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Photo of Brenden
4.46/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The Oracle is a thick burnt gold-orange color, technically translucent but very nearly opaque. On top rests a head that's one finger tall and shows incredible strength, heaviness and thickness. This thing looks almost solid. It immediately leaves a ring of lacing, even before it's possible to really anything has settled. It eases up on the heaviness, but continues to cling almost to the bottom of the glass.
The aroma pops out of the bottle even before it begins to pour, and it's all orange and grapefruit with some tropical fruits as well, pithy and zesty with a supporting juicy sweetness. Malts provide a bit of support, but there's a whole lot of bitterness here.
I've rarely been hit with bitterness like my palate does with this beer. The tropical fruits and citrus are here, but the first slap is pine, leaf and raw pith all the way. There's a complex texturing of flavors as the juiciness comes out and the various aspects of the malts lightly support but are strongly overshadowed by the hops. It's all resinous after that, going into a lingering bitter and dry finish.
It has a soft crispness in its medium body, and a little creaminess to start, but it goes pretty quickly to the dryness that pulls it into the finish. It does remain smooth for the duration.

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Photo of cfrances33
4.46/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at the Mark in South Bend, IN on 8/23/12. Served in a tulip.

Pour: Deep amber orange with a finger of tanner head. Recedes to a rim, not much lacing.

Smell: Lots of pine and grapefruit, with some lemon mixed in as well. Clear caramel sweetness.

Taste: Follows the nose with pine and grapefruit, with a fantastic balance. I was amazed at the balance this beer exuded, especially with the reputation of a "west coast style dipa." Like a slightly maltier Pliny.

Mouthfeel: Pretty light and drinkable given the huge body.

Overall: Great, and pretty tasty. Wish Bell's put this on rotation.

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Photo of AllDayIPA23
4.46/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured a murk orange with a good looking head.
Lots of citrus fruit in the smell. Malts are present as well
Tons of citrus flavors with a great combination of earthy hops and a little malt
Low carbonation with a heavy feel
A really good imperial IPA. I agree with everyone who said this competes with hopslam easily. Would definitely seek out in the future.

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Photo of FrognutUnl
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Lovely three finger slightly off white head with decent retention leaving a good amount of sticky lacing on the sides of the glass. Hazy golden amber color. So far so good.

S - Big resinous, grapefruity nose. I must admit not a whole lot of complexity, but still smells delicious.

T - Wow, this certainly has some bite to it. The hops provide a resinous, spicy bitterness with a fair amount of grapefruit. Malt comes in a distant second to the overpowering hops, but provides welcome relief in the finish.

M - Dry with a medium body.

D - I love everything about this brew, if Bell's were smart it would be part of their regular/seasonal line up.

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Photo of fishbrew
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased two 12oz. bottles from the Bell's General Store in September 2009. Poured into a pint glass.

Poured with a two finger head and left beautiful lacing. Light orange, golden hue. I would estimate 11 SRM.

The most intense sweet pineapple aroma I've encountered in an IPA. I've often thought that a beer smelled of citrus, but this is different. It immediately reminded me of the plastic pineapple juice cups with the foil peel-back lids you often get on flights. Very pleasant, I couldn't help but take in the aroma before every drink.

Starts with an intense hoppy pineapple flavor coupled with a delicate caramel sweetness, and finishes with a pleasant bitterness and some alcohol. IPA's are often described as either citrus or pine flavored; The Oracle is entirely citrus. This is a very well balanced IIPA, with a sweetness which compliments the flavoring hops and keeps the bittering hops in check.

Very typical of an IPA. Slick and silky, not too thick.

I don't think The Oracle was designed with excessive consumption in mind, yet it manages to go down easy in moderation. In my opinion that's how an IIPA should be; rich and complex in flavor and meant to be enjoyed in small quantities. One bottle is just right; two may be pushing it.

Overall this was a nice treat from Bell's. It's disappointing that the availability is so limited, because this was a very good IPA which offers a unique twist on the IIPA style.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, Batch 9901 (Bottled on 8/23/2010). Served in a snifter, the beer pours an amber/orange color with an inch off-white head. Head retention and lacing are both good. Aroma is mostly citrusy (orange/grapefruit/tropical fruit) and pine hops, along with a little bit of bready malt. Taste is pretty much the same as the aroma, the citrusy hops flavors are the strongest, but the pine hops and bready malt flavors are noticable too. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's creamy, oily and slick with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is very good, it's quite smooth and goes down easy. I think this is a good overall brew, I'd definitely buy this again.

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Photo of kirkpjr
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch #9901. Poured into a tulip.

A: Pours a slightly thin golden amber color. One finger of head with moderate lacing up and down the glass.

S: Juicy pineapple chunks off the bat. Tropical fruits with floral highlights. Citrus also present. If this is 4 months out I can't imagine how mouth watering this beer smells fresh.

T: Fresh pineapple, with a hefty grapefruit-esque bitterness on the tail. Biscuity malt backbone helps "balance" the beer, but the bitterness plays a clear role in the forefront. Citrus flavors and a little lemon zest in each sip. A great DIPA, but Hopslam still grabs my attention over this when it comes to Bell's DIPA's.

M: Sticky, resinous hops cover the palette. Medium body with a little syrupy feel. Moderate carbonation.

D: Wow. I didn't even realize until I looked up on the review page that I'm drinking a 10+%ABV beer. Goes down exceptionally well, with bitterness being the only deterrent (if that is such a thing).

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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.16 out of 5 based on 2,678 ratings.
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