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: 771 | Ratings: 2,659
Photo of beachbum1975
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch # 9901.

I've been excited to try this one for a bit, so I was grateful when my buddy newtonty bought me one to try out. Served at fridge temp into an imperial pint.

Pours a pale brown with golden highlights. The head is foamy, sticky and about 1/4 inch. Great retention.

I get FRESH pineapple, lemon zest and oranges on the nose. The malt character is pretty hidden in there.

Wow, very nice flavor on this one. Moderately surprising sweetness with pineapples, pineapples and a few more pineapples... Did I mention pineapple?. This has quite a bold flavor profile... It jumps out at you. Very sweet and with a slight malt spiciness in the mix. Very assertive and enjoyable. Quite unique!

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A deep orange color, like a sunset in your glass, ploughy head, chunky. Aroma was very sweet, tropical citrus and some alcohol warmth.

The first few sips come off wo much alcohol, possibly the most pineapple I've ever tasted in a beer, this one is far less piney and way more tropical citrus, mango, papaya and pineapple feel to it. One of these would be way cooler in a Corona on the beach commercial. Good amount of hops to it, but not a super crisp blast, enough to pair well with a 10.4 beer, thats for sure. Reminiscient of Odell's India Barleywine.

Should be interested to visit the rest of the 6 pack throughout the year. The three I've had thus far were all enjoyable, but the one I had on a weeknight was a little much to get down. This is a good beer to throw down at the end of a tasting session on a weekend, too dangerous during the week.

EDIT: Drink this back to back with Hopsoulution. Same beer almost, different strengths, makes the Oracle seem much lower in ABV when you drink it after a Hopsoulution.

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Photo of kbeals
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- 12 oz. bottle decanted into a pint glass unveils a bright, exceptionally clear copper colored brew. Two fingers of eggshell white head sit atop leaving behind thick sheets of lacing. Good head retention.

S- A mixture of floral and citrusy hops. There's even *gasp* a hint of caramel malts. Very strange for a DIPA. It's actually quite well balanced, and the alcohol doesn't really show up either.

T- Very well balanced also. Good mix of citrusy hops and caramel and toffee malts. I'm not really sure if it's supposed tob e balanced though. This is actually the most malt-centric DIPA I've ever had.

M- Smooth, good carbonation, medium body. A bit oily.

D- Pretty good. Gladly, the alcohol doesn't really show up and makes it an easy drinker. I think HopSlam is a better DIPA from Bell's, but this one is good in it's own way.

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Photo of plumcrazyfx
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm not a huge DIPA guy but this beer is awesome. If I could get this fresh and drink it a couple times a week I'd be a very happy guy. Pours a golden copper color with a nice head of tight bubbles that leave lacing all the way down the glass. Tastes wonderful, powerful mix of sweet malt and a floral bitterness that just coats the tongue. This is a very smooth beer with an almost creamy mouthfeel. Like I said, I would drink this all of the time if I could. It's not easy to find around here when it comes out but is worth searching for.

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Photo of king75
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-golden amber orange with a creamy full head

S- citrus and pine fill the nose

T- Is solid, nice pine bite at the front then a nice crisp citrus flavor that leaves a nice dry feel, with a slight puckering sensation.

Overall, a very good DIPA, but IMO it is over priced for what it is. There are other DIPA's equal in taste at half the price.

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Photo of 7ways
2.97/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a clear orange amber with a dish soap head. The color is pretty brilliant. No head retention, which kept it from being a 5.

The aroma is just as good. Big leafy oranges, sweet grass, mint, mellow malt in the background. This is the kind of aroma that brings back childhood memories.

And then the taste slams me back into the present. There's a sense of loss because it doesn't taste nearly as good as it smells. The orange has become bitter orange peels and sap. Fusel alcohol pretty much dominates. I think that with some age this will become a pretty good barleywine.

Oily, heavy, and undercarboated.

Hopslam is a 10% beer I can hang with. This is not.

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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 Florida9
4.57/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Slightly hazy pale orange in color. Forms about 1/4" of sticky head with a hard pour. Leaves sheets of lacing.

S: Light whiff of sweet malt, then a host of hoppy flavors: orange, mango, citrus, and pine. Very aromatic.

T: A light honey sweetness followed by an appreciable hop bitterness. Mostly a strong pine flavor with grapefruit and citrus to a lesser extent.

M: Medium in body with appropriate carbonation. There is a noticeable bitterness.

D: A very good and quite enjoyable DIPA.

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Photo of Thur123
4.32/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew pours a fairly even split IMO between red and orange. Definitely not bright in color but rich and somewhat hazy, very little carbonation but enough to make like fresh. Very little stale white head that fades into a ring quickly. The smell is very aromatic, and very sweet. The dent no hop spice from this and all a kind of sugary sweet smell. A very light citrus is the lightest hop scent with juicy oranges standing out. A mellow but full piney smell is here too but resting under the fruitiness it seems. Honey, floral aroma.

Glug glug glug

Much more bitter in the initial hit than anything in the aroma would have you think. Smacks down with a bitter resinous punch before "mellowing" into a balance between the bitter and the sweet. Fruit rind comes to mind in a big with something very literally like flowers, maybe jasmine, working its way around too. The sweetness is big and heavy and comes through as an almost bitter honey flavor from the malt. The mouth feel is a little thick but not nearly as thick as many and the drinkability, for me at least, is pretty good for something this big and heavy. The flavor is well rounded and complex, without dominating (too much) with any one aspect of the beer. Overall a class act in its category and certainly a unique example even.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Single bottle purchased, probably for a little more than I could have purchased elsewhere, oh well. I'm happy for the opportunity. Nice classic Bell's label.
Who is this Pythia and why is he/she all-knowing?
Really delightful aroma of fresh hops of sweet candy like fruitiness. Slowly settles into a fresh sweet citrus most close to grapefruit but lighter and less tart. Very nice. Eventually becomes less unique, but boy that initial aroma was awfully nice.
Nice dense off-white head. Ample action from the bottom of my SN tulip glass in an orange amber elixir.
Mmmm, smooth drink and the flavors are to be savored as they glide over the tongue. The finishing bitterness is ample and extended, but not excessive and not so tongue ripping as to prohibit enjoyment of the next taste.
Oh man, too bad, just a touch of the excess hop flavor I dislike so much.
Well this is certainly better than the proposed gases emitting from the earth leading to great prophesies. The well hidden alcohol inspires me. And I guess that is as it should be.

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Photo of boralyl
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Batch 9901. It pours a small quarter inch of white head that recedes fairly quickly leaving a ring of lace. The beer has a clear, medium golden-orange appearance.

S - There is a pretty strong grapefruit aroma with hints of pine. There is also a pineapple aroma present. Light alcohol can be detected.

M - Medium-full in body with good carbonation. The beer coats the inside of your mouth with sticky sweetness and oily hops.

T - The taste reminds me of Founder's Devil Dancer which is another huge imperial IPA. Piny, bitter hops hit the taste buds first followed by light citrus. A plum like flavor paired with a malty sweetness pick up in the middle and continue into the grapefruit like finish. It finishes fairly bitter with traces of warm alcohol.

While an excellent beer, it almost seems more like a hoppy American Barleywine. It's just a barrage of malts and hops packing a nice alcohol heat. This one is a sipper for sure.

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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 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 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 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 boomer31
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bought a single bottle less than a week ago and it's been staring me down since.

A - Golden, a touch of haze but thick white head that just sticks to the glass.

S - Some tropical fruit hops but not over the top. Actually get some malt in the nose. Not what I was expecting

T - This is a compelex hop bomb! Up front is mango and grapefuit, then some grass and finally pine in the aftertaste. I really enjoy this's range of flavors is camparable to a very hormonal teenage girl, all over the place (but in a good way).

M - Pretty rich and full, low carb

D - WOW, don't taste the 10%+ here at all! For being such a hop bomb the malt bill is just right. Fantastic...almost too drinkable?!?!

Overall I really enjoy this. A must try for hop lovers. I didn't think I could score one of these but snatched it up and am wishing I grabbed more.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.62/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to mikesgroove for this one.

A: Deep copper color with two fingers of white head after the pour. The head settling down had lacing. Really sticky lacing. Perfect pour for a DIPA.

S: The nose is nothing short of scrumtrilescent. Huge blast of citrus. Pineapple. Mango. Just an in your face hop blast. You do actually get a nice bit of malt as well.

T: Wow. Tons of citrus. Very west coast in nature. Pineapple is leading the charge. Has that sweetness that comes from an insane amount of hope and a big ABV beer. A little bit of booze is detectable but that is ok by me.

M: Mouthfeel is full and sticky. Creamy. It is everything you want in a DIPA.

D: I split the 12oz bottle and am regretting it already. This is going down in record time. Stupid drinkability for the ABV. It is expensive but it is also good. I would grab this when I was feeling saucy and needed a serious hop fix.

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Photo of Wisconsinality
3.28/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into SA perfect pint.

A big shout out to cmswoboda for hooking me up with this generous extra.

A- Pours a nice copper with just a slight haze to it. About one finger worth of head that recedes slowly and leaves some nice lacing.

S- Some nice tropical hops and citrus. A pretty good amount of malt and a little bit of sweetness. A little bit of grassiness and a touch of orange rind.

T- Big piney hops burst onto your taste buds right away. Lots of hop oil just coat the tongue which dulls down the bitter. The malt is back there but it takes awhile to pick it up. There is a light grassiness like the nose on the tail end of the taste.

M- Medium to full body. It just seems to coat your tongue. Not too bitter but there is a touch of heat on the back of the throat.

D- Decent beer but nothing about it really stands out. It is not as in your face as some DIPA's. I think I prefer some of Bell's other offerings. Pretty average for drinkability, which is the story of this beer.

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Photo of Chaney
4.55/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At $20 per 4 pack, the expectations are pretty high for this one. However, I am going to be fair.

I poured this into a sniffer:

A: Very dark amber color, with moderate carbonation. The retention on this is absolutely stunning considering the ABV. After the session, my glass ended up looking like it had just gone through a car wash on max setting without a rinse.

S: When I initially smelled this brew, I didn't get a decent whiff because it was too cold...far too cold even. I waited about 5 minutes, then took a snort: Ahhhh. Very fresh hop smell - lots of orange, grapefruit, and even a bit of Candy bar-like sugar. After a few more whiffs, I started to notice pineapple poking through.

T: Almost a barleywine, but not quite. Whenever a beer has a very strong hop profile that transcends into the realm of licorice, that is when I start to think American Barleywine. However, this brew skates the edge of that doom very nicely, and rounds itself out with a nice orange pulp taste. Sugary? Yes!... Hoppy? Yes!.... Balanced? Nope, but that's the way I like it!

M: Sure the sugar is cloying, but since this is a "reserve" style "special edition" type of beer in which every drop is meant to be savored, I actually embrace that quality. A true model for this style!

D: I drank this brew during a movie with my wife. The entire time, I found myself in awe of it's flavor, hop profile (which is a tad reminicent of Two-Hearted), and about the brew itself as a sought after White Whale of a brew. Does it live up to the hype? Well, since I am one of the ones who helped hype it, I would say YES!

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Photo of jpmclaug
4.16/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a stemmed tulip. I got this bottle as an extra in trade with Romulux. You are awesome! Thanks.

A - Nice orange amber body with a white fluffy head on top. Lots of sticky lacing on the glass. I don't know if a DIPA could look any better than this.

S - Nice sweet citrus hop smell. Grapefruit and more citrus.

T - Grapefruit hop flavor up front. A bit of a piney lingering bitterness at the end. Wow. Certainly a much more bitter beast than Hopslam. This is a big grapefruit bomb made to rival the best the west could offer.

M - medium bodied with a fair amount of carbonation.

D - Pretty big hop presence so those that love a big bitter IPA would be right at home. I like my DIPA's a bit more on the balanced side or citrusy side personally. Hides the big ABV nicely however. This beer is worth picking up and trying. If I could get more I would however this isn't at the very top tier of IPA's imo.

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Photo of TCHopCraver
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes on 9/8/10.

A: Pours a dark orange and gold, bordering on amber, into my snifter. A slight head vanishes immediately, leaving a spongy white film on top. The carbonation looks to be moving at a slow to medium pace. The lacing is thin and fine, like delicate handwriting with a quill and ink.

S: A load of citrus hops (mainly grapefruit) with a little bit of pine hop smell jump into my nose upfront, balanced by just enough of a caramel malt presence. I also smell a fair amount of dry biscuit and a little bit of coppery tap water.

T: Wow, that is dry, earthy hopticism. The citrus hop notes definitely shine through (although more orange than grapefruit), but this is definitely one of the drier hop profiles I have tasted in a DIPA. Like in the smell, the caramelized malts stand up to the hops, but only for a second in the middle of the sip. After that, the hops blow the face off of the malt. The aftertaste is almost the exact lasting flavor I have had on my tongue when I have eaten hops in the past.

M: Oracle is medium bodied, with a very puckering finish. The creaminess of the sweet malts graces my palate for a very short time before the bitter, earthy hops dry my palate and leave their flowery, alpha-acid goodness all over my tongue.

D: This guy is big and bitter, but that is a pleasant departure from a lot of other DIPAs that I have had. I definitely will consume more of this treat, but with some beers in between so that I can enjoy this beast anew.

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Photo of ratedz
4.42/5  rDev +6%
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 SpeedwayJim
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
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 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 SuperNova777
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Notes from 08/29/10

A:Pours a hazy orange color with a fingers worth of fluffy white head leaving awesome lacing as it is drank down

S:Big grapefruit, tangerine, & floral hop aroma. Very inviting and exciting, maybe a
little hint of honey in there as well

T:Just as the nose detects loads of awesome hops attack the senses then fall back
leaving a nice oily resin on the palate begging for another hit of the intenseness

M:Very nice body for easy drinkability with good carbonation

D:How I wish this was available all the time to make up for my Hopslam desires through
out the year. Big hop profile, easy to drink for being 10%, and crazy good all around.
Hops expolding in your mouth like a bomb in the middle east, next stop is the arrival
of Hopslam this winter.

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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.17 out of 5 based on 2,659 ratings.
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