The Oracle | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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The OracleThe Oracle
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States
bellsbeer.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
786
Ratings:
2,714
Avg:
4.16
pDev:
10.58%
 
 
Wants:
453
Gots:
415
For Trade:
7
User Reviews
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Reviews: 786 | Ratings: 2,714
Photo of chicano4craft
3.45/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark copper witha slight amber highlight in my tulip. Thick three finger head that sticks around for a long time. Amazing lacing to the end.

The nose is really balanced. It's a sweet citrus from the hops and malt. Reminds me of lemon bread.

The first sip is quite bitter. The balance in the nose doesn't show up. It's not the "good" bitter flavors you might expect from hops...grapefruit,citrus,resin. I think the alcohal has dulled down the flavor. A little disappointing.

The mouthfeel is decent but the high ABV brings down the drinkability. This was just an okay IIPA. I was hoping for a little more. I have a few more bottles and will revisit this soon. I feel my taste buds have been off a little lately.

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Photo of ZAP
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very excited to try this one...I love Hopslam and this is right up there in my book (although a little different).

A-Peach colored...light white lace..

S-Very impressive...a mix of herbalness and tropical fruits

T-Tropical fruits evident but not boisterous. Pineapple, mango, papaya and even a little coconut. Malt is sugary but subdued and not a big player in this....this has hop flavor but also a nice tight dry bitterness on the finish that compels me to keep picking up that glass.

M-Feels about right....not immense but definitely bigger than a regular IPA...creamy texture...nice balanced bitterness on the finish.

D-Top notch. I'd put this up there with the best of the best for DIPA's

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Photo of otto251068
3.96/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Chimay chalice

Appearance: Dark copper. Absolutely beautiful color. After the pour the already thin, but bubbly head quickly dissipates into a light lacing floating in the middle of the glass. Eggshell colored head, no lacing.

Smell: Very clean and crisp. Strong hop presence, but not overpowering. Also plenty of pine. Some citrus, mainly orange with some grapefruit.

Taste: Sweetness right off the bat, some malts too for just a second, but that doesn't last long. Immediately the citrus hits, mostly grapefruit, a little piney flavor, then the hops. The hop flavor dominates this beer, but it is never overpowering (if that makes sense)

Mouthfeel: The carbonation feels great on the tongue, and seems to grow before the swallow. The beer feels syrupy, but also finishes fairly clean, with a little bitterness staying in the back of the throat.

Overall: Very good, well balanced DIPA, not a "hopbomb." This is a very well balanced beer. Usually for me it's "one and done" when it comes to 10.0% ABV DIPAs, but I could drink a few of these back to back.

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Photo of brewdoc75
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Looks pretty damn good in my Sam Adams pint glass. Beautiful deep orange with some slight touches of amber. Moderate carbonation feeds a lasting, just off-white head that seems to last quite a while. There is a ton of lace that follows down the sides of the glass.

S: Lots of nice aromas here. Strong fruitiness w/ pineapple jumping out at me. This is followed by a strong orange/tangerine aroma. Hints of pine round out the hop aromas. The malts are definitely here to play too with some rich caramel notes present. I do get a slight hit of booze in the end, but it isn't off-putting.

T: At first I get a ton of that fruity hop character that was noted in the nose. Plenty of pineapple, orange and tangerine in the flavor, but not quite as much as the aroma made it out to be. This is quickly followed by a strong, caramel flavor. Not toffee, but caramel. A significant sweetness from the malts is there, but it isn't too cloying. This is promptly followed by a strong piney, grapefruit rind bitterness. The beer does finish with some alcohol in the end. It isn't terrible, but definitely there. Overall very flavorful and hop forward with a significant caramel malt backbone. Definitely maltier than Hopslam. The booze comes out a little more too.

M: Medium to heavy bodied. A little heavier than some DIPAs. Feels smooth over the tongue. Carbonation is moderate at best. Maybe a little to sticky in the back of the throat at the end. The alcohol helps it dry out a little though.

D: This is a damn fine DIPA. The aroma is very nice, but for me the flavor didn't match up with it. The flavors were all nice (minus a little too much booze), but they were a little muted. I liked the balancing malts. They seemed to make the beer taste better in this cooler fall weather. I would definitely drink this again, but not over Hopslam or some other great DIPAs that are out.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

"We can never see past the choices we don't understand." - The Oracle: Matrix Reloaded

I choose this beer to drink because I understand Bell's makes some good beer...

So with that: The Oracle pours a darker honey pale gold hue in a medium fogged body capped delicately with a small cap of ivory creamy foam. Plenty of lacing is sheeted about with a speckled spottyness.

Peachy tropics stand ripe and raw in the nose with a slender pineapple/melony core and caramel tow mushed into a soft pastry doughyness. Timidly schnappy warmth in bigger wiffs.

A smooth darkly sweetened, lightly candied, tropical ride on the taste buds with a nice mushy melange of peaches, oranges, green grapes, pineapple, apricot all blended together in a jam with a light toasted pastry doughyness. Malt is there only in check of the hops, which there is plenty of. Spread across its lentgh is a well placed touch to its beefy 10% that is nearly an afterthought until you get just past midway where it grows quickly with heat like a fruity Kamakazi shot. Leftover, after the heat resides, is a small burp of warm peach cobbler and dryish bittering hop fuzz.

Nicely bold, beefy, and quite forward nearly full body of rounded smoothness of malty creamyness with a nice buzzing fuzzyness of tropical hoppy bitterness that encompasses a whole bunch of peach and apricot skins. Warmth settles in very well and with a slow bruteness that takes control immediately. Making you slow down and really take this one in. As apposed to the HopSlam, which is much more slammable. Both Bell's brews are a dangerous tandum of hops to behold. I favor the HopSlam. But Oracle is no side show of a DIPA.
One that's a bit more of a sipper.

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Photo of hosehead83
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a wine goblet.
Deep orange/amber in color, with a short, off white head of foam.
Aroma-Sweet malt and citrus hop notes
Taste-One-two punch of sweet malt and citrus hop bite. Big malt backbone, hints of pineapple and pine, omnipresent hop bitterness. Nicely done.

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Photo of rembrant
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pour Amber,a bit cloudy,modest head that does not last long.

aroma Exceptional array of hoppy scents,a lot of citrus,a bit of pine,a bit of floral. Slightly sweet caramel background.

flavor Sweet caramel lead transitions to a citrus hops with some grapefruit to it,and on to a more woodsy bitter hop finish. A little caramel nut,and citrus do carry through to the finish. It's more a shift of balance. The clever shuffle of the caramel and citrus flavors is especially nice.

Very refreshing,not unlike a slightly more refined Two Hearted.

Mouth If you hold a sip,you do notice some alcohol. Otherwise,it's hidden. The malts bring good body,it seems to have more "weight" than a typical DIPA,whilr the flavors are pretty sparkly.

Drinkable Yess, to a point. Very zingy in a good way but a tad filling and I'm thinking the ABV and price may limiot drinkability.

I had a Lake Eire Monster today,and it's interesting how different these two beers are,and the Double Crooked Tree I recently enjoyed is a lot different from either. It used ti be most big DIPAs were quite similar.

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Photo of beergod1
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, somewhat hazy amber with a creamy beige head. Awesome nose, rich caramel malt, balanced hops. The flavor is a huge hops burst with citrus notes that leads into a long, bitter finish. It's got enough resinous malt to give it some body and a hint of Malt sweetness. Palate is full bodied and oily soft. Sweet and bitter IIPA with a nice complexity in the background.

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Photo of merlin48
4.62/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Twelve ounce bottle pours a mostly clear golden amber body with a tall and creamy offwhite head. Retention is excellent and leaves a cap all the way to the finish. Lavish sticky lacing decorates the glass.

Aroma pounds the olfactory senses with a sledge hammer of hops. Grassy, earthy, leafy, citrusy, minty, and hempy notes all make their presence known. Not quite the cat urine hint that I got from Hopslam, but close. Softer notes of florals and ripe plums are underneath and betray a kinship with Two Hearted.

Mouthfeel is a creamy medium, with a smooth carbonation and some hop resins.

Taste is all about the hops. Sharp citrus, grassiness, leafy, floral, minty, earthy, with some pine sap underneath. A nectar like hint of honey sweetness struggles to balance the massive assault of muti-hop bitterness. Finishes with a lasting earthy and leafy bitterness. Alcohol is cleverly concealed except for some warmth at the end.

Superb effort. Seems to blend the better attributes of its kindred, Hopslam and Two Hearted, into a unique identiy of it own. A challenging DIPA that is rewarding and satisying.

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Photo of cdrogers
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from bottle to Guinness glass.

A: Nice amber color with a one inch off-white head.

S: Lots of citrus, mainly orange and some lemon, and also very floral. Lots going on in this one.

T: For an I-IPA it wasn't as overwhelming as I expected. I'm more of trappist guy and this one I was afraid of. I heard it was very rare and good, but I wasn't sure, it lived up to the hype. Lots of hops, but with some lemon again and the vibrate earthiness.

M: Dances around and then bam the hops come out.

D: I could drink a few of these for sure. Lots of hops but with the citrus it is all good. Exceptional I-IPA. Everyone must try this one.

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

Poured from 12 ounce bottle into a snifter.

A: Pours a clear deep amber with a light white head.
S: Piney, citrusy, and hoppy.
T: Good balance between piney hops and sweet malt with a good hoppy bitter finish.
M: Light bodied and well carbonated.
D: The 10.0% abv never shows itself, even as it warms. This is a superb IIPA.

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Photo of zoolzoo
3.57/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Deep shade of amber, golden accents. White head, gobs of sticky lacing. Looks quite a bit like a DIPA.

S: Mostly grains and a little alcohol. Fruity and piney hop notes linger below.

T: Hop profile is grassy and mostly piney, lacking citric brightness. Sugar coated everything, malts and grains are quite prominent. Alcohol presence is almost completly masked, impressive for an IPA tipping 10%.

M: Thick and chewy, fits the flavor profile well.

D: Not bad but abv and sweetness limits drinkability. Not my style of DIPA I suppose.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
3.38/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I dedicate this review, and all future Bell's reviews, to super-tasters from Kalamazoo and beyond.

A - It pours an ultra-deep hue of amber and has a large frothy caramel colored head.

S - It smells of alcohol, grassiness, vegetal, and perhaps catty and/or onion-y.

T - The bitterness is sufficient to overwhelm a significantly big maltiness. It seems mostly astringent and somewhat piney, as far as flavor goes. Not fantastic due to a lack of dynamic hop impression.

M - Big and sticky.

D - I don't care for this big crass beast of a beer. It is not terrible by any means, but it doesn't do it for me in any way either.

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Photo of Verecund
3.56/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 9901, bottled on 08.23.2010. Consumed on 10.14.2010.

Mango Tango (TM) with a lightly peach colored head. Thick, persistent head.

Nice tropical fruit, orange, and grapefruit presence in the nose, but it's a bit muted. It's as if, library-ridden, the hops have been told to be quiet by the sugary, biscuit malty backbone. I prefer some balance to my [I]IPAs, but I think this would be better fresher, with a pit more tropical-punch punch.

Dank herbal and floral hop bitterness hits the tongue, but is cut through by the light tropical notes (much less here than in the nose). The hop profile is a bit muddled, in my opinion, but that could be due to a) the age and b) the biscuity, grainy malt presence that's higher than the average DIPA. Some minor pepper on the finish.

Somewhat slick and oily. Fairly creamy until the end of the palate.

Not a palate destroyer, but it is as if someone took a plastic axe to my tongue after awhile, which just dulls the flavor more. A somewhat-fruity, somewhat-earthy/dank plastic axe.

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Photo of codewarrior
3.45/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz from a trade into a Chalice (Bottle says 9901)

Picked this up in a trade with 7ways. Utterly disappointing (he warned me ...).

A: Deep amber. A finger or so of head, dissipates quickly, little to no lacing.

S: Hoppy and sweet. But more sweet than hoppy. Lots of fruits in this. Unexpected for a DIPA.

T: Sweet up front, in the severe, then massive hops in the back. Pineapple notes, and caramel in the middle. Lingering bitterness.

F: Creamy, heavier than expected.

D: Ok. Disappointing from Bell's, especially for a style from which I expect so much.

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

a deep copper with a slight brownish haze. An eggshell colored head raises to an average two-fingers, but leaves tons of lacing and sticks around for minutes.

not as hoppy an aroma as I expected (this bottle was brewed about 6 weeks ago, so not extremely fresh, but should still be young) some butterscotch, caramel and slightly toasty breads are more dominant in the nose. Though not over-the-top hoppy, it still smells pretty nice.

sweet caramel and definite toasty malts with some toffee, molasses, and honey sweetness. citrus, floral, and tropical fruit hops are present throughout and finally take over with a bit of sweetness and some bitterness on the back end. booze on the swallow as well.

oily medium bodied with just a touch of carbonation and a relatively dry finish (no resin left behind) some lingering alcohol heat.

drinks ok. definitely different from HopSlam, which is more my style of DIPA, but tasty in its own way. Alcohol is there and a tad harsh at times.

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Photo of whoneeds8
4.26/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to biglobo8971 who sent this for the winnings from the Sunday Night Football Squares LIF week 4. I'm enjoying this watching Game 5 of the ALDS cheering for the Rangers!!!!

Poured into a tulip glass a golden orange with a two finger foam white head. Great lacing and retention. My allergies are a PIA this time of year, and all I can find in the scent is some alcohol. But that's my noises fault. The taste has some piny hop notes with a slight citric sweetness that morphs into a carmel flavor and hoppy bitter aftertaste. Very complex. The mouthfeel isn't too thick or too thin, just right for the style. And the alcohol is well masked making this a very drinkable IIPA.

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Photo of hophead247
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber color with a one and a half finger thick off white head that settled slowly. Thick lacing. Aroma is toasted malt, and pine and floral hops. Flavor is full of piny hops and toasted malt. A well balanced IIPA. Scary drinkability at over 10%. Medium to full body. Nice beer...thanks Brandon...

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Photo of klikger
3.71/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle served in a Bruery tulip

A - Rich amber, cloudy, small white head, & great lacing

S - Honey and a hint of hops. I'm underwhelmed (and potentially broken-nosed).

T - Caramel, honey, and floral hops --> toffee --> barrage of hops shows up near the end: the finish is grapefruit bitter, and this is joined by more malty sweetness in the aftertaste.

M - Thick for a DIPA; gets syrupy as it warms, but not horrifically.

D - I could have another, which is good for a DIPA this strong and sweet.

Not nearly as good as HopSlam, but a quality midwestern DIPA nonetheless. Solid, but not spectacular.

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Photo of billshmeinke
2.44/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured into a nonic.

Just over a a quarter inch of head. Sits atop a golden amber body that is slightly hazy and has evidence of lively carbonation. Dies down to a solid bubbly cap of foam on top. Retention is pretty awesome, and lacing is great as well.

Smells of some honey malts, fruity esters, citrus, and grapefruit. Also a hint of alcohol.

Lots of honey, a touch of bread, some resin, and citrus. Long lasting resin bitterness. Definitely an east coast interpretation of a dipa.

Mouthfeel has low carbonation, resiny bitterness and a good amount of hop oils. Would definitely like more carbonation in this one.

Alcohol wasn't well hidden, not enough carbonation, and not enough hop flavor. Not too good in my opinion.

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Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from 12oz bottle into Tulip.

A. Big 3 finger head. Very good retention. Thick lacing. Copperish orange color.

S. Smell is what you come to expect from Bells. That is to say it is all about the hops. Sweet delicous, tropical hops. I would describe it like Hopslam with out the sweetness to the smell. This might not have the room filling aroma that Hopslam does, but I can't get over the tropical fruit smell, pineapple, grapefruit, mango even. Maybe just a hint of alcohol smell.

T. Wow! Almost taste like drinking pineapple juice. This is delicous. Sweetness comes almost more from the hops than the malt, if that makes any sense. The tropical fruit is definitely evident in the taste. Pineapple, grapefruit, orange, tangerine. Very citrusy sweet. I dont really pick up a lot of malt. The hop bitterness really only displays itself as a lingering taste on the tongue. No trace of 10.4%

M. Medium bodied. Mediumb carbonation. Sweet but finishes dry with a lingering bitterness.

D. I really don't know how a 10.4% DIPA can get any more drinkable. This goes down so easy, and is very delicous. The only thing bad about this beer is that it is seasonal. Seriously if Bells can craft DIPAs like this and Hopslam why can't they put out a year round one.

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Photo of scottakelly
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Dark gold in color with superb clarity. Almost non-existent head and lacing. Strong aroma of tropical fruits. Initial taste is all american hops with almost no malt profile. I liked the taste better as it warmed, and a slightly toasty, dry malt character comes forward. It's not as good as Hopslam, but is still a fantastic DIPA.

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Photo of hawks10
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle - Batch 9901 - Bottled August 23rd, 2010 - Poured into my Bell's tulip...

Pours a hazy golden orange with a touch of light brown. Three fingers of dense off white head forms, sticks around for a while before receding and leaves some nice lacing behind...

Floral hops with a citrus twist dominates the nose. Sweet.

Sweet citrus hops dominate the taste initially, but after a couple seconds there is an overwhelming bitterness that lingers seemingly forever...Loads of citrus before an earthy, floral bitterness sets in. Malt is in hiding...

Medium to heavy bodied. Somewhat thick and sticky, decent carbonation. Drying bitterness lingering well into the aftertaste...

Pretty drinkable for such a one-sided beer. No real balance, but the flavor is still good and drinkability still pretty high, I don't usually feel that way...

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Photo of BBP
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Burnt orange with great carbonation and a thin, yet resilient head which lasted the length of the drink.

S- Hops, citrus, some malts, and some booziness.

T- Hops are very upfront, and balanced incredibly by the malt. Grapefruit is all over this one, and really shines in the aftertaste. Some pine notes as well and as some caramel notes. I love how much they could cram into the flavor while maintaining balance between everything.

M- Full bodied, and quite creamy while at the same time being just a little bit sticky and dry.

D- This is an DIPA which has a lot of taste too it, but is very easy to drink at the same time. Somewhat scary how easy it is to drink this. I almost felt like my review had a countdown on it because I wanted another sip right after the last.

The alcohol sadly was slightly noticable though, I got little hints of it after some sips, and on one hand I'm glad it's there, to slow me down a bit from chugging this delicious brew back, but on the other hand it took away from the taste slightly. Removing that would have probably secured a "5" in the taste catergory. I think it's acceptable for all the taste they fit in.

Prime example of a DIPA, and I will have it again if I can.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.48/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Although I had a bit of this one at a recent tasting, I believe that I forgot to review it. Having recently received a bottle as an extra in a trade, I figured the time was right.

First off, this doesn't remind me of a DIPA (at least in the West Coast sense of things with which I have grown accustomed), but rather an IPA with a bit too much sweetness.

Golden amber color with a decent white head. Big bubblegummy hops seem to dominate, then sweetness, before reaching a somewhat bitter finish. Not bad by any means, but Bell's has done better.

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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.16 out of 5 based on 2,714 ratings.
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