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The Oracle | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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781 Reviews
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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:
781
Ratings:
2,695
Avg:
4.16
pDev:
10.58%
 
 
Wants:
454
Gots:
411
For Trade:
9
User Reviews
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Reviews: 781 | Ratings: 2,695
Photo of JToad
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured directly into my Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass a dark copper, about the color of a penny.

Minimal head with decent lacing on the sides.

Smells of tropical bitterness. Hops are very noticeable, without being overpowering.

Smoothe and hoppy bitterness, yet not sharp like many other DIPAS. Some sweetness on the sides.

For the ABV to be 10%, this has to be the easiest drinking DIPA I have ever had. The alcohol is very well masked, and the hop profile is very present, without being over the top. A very complex example of a style not know for being complex. Most brewers just throw hops in the kettle, this has some thought and balance.

Love it. Another IPA done perfect by a great brewery. Not as good as the BIG HEAD SAN DIEGO STYLE ALE from a few years ago, but I think I enjoy this more than HopSlam.

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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.

Kef

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Photo of jjanega08
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A= The pour is a nice crystal clear copper color with a decent looking finger high perfect white head that holds some really nice retention as well as some super lacing.

S= Very aromatic with a lot of pine and pineapple. Loads of citrus in there as well making itself present.

T= Very good flavor. Not the candly like sweetness hopslam presents but more of a brutally bitter hop flavor in the finish. There is a nice grapefuit flavor at first. The grapefruit is washes away quickly by bitter pine flavor. The finish is perticularly bitter.

M= Nice medium carbonation to it with a clean finish.

D= Pretty good DIPA. I've been drinkless for a few weeks now and I had to drink this beer right away. Worth checking out. I loved every little sip of this one. Worth seeking out but maybe not worth the hype.

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Photo of generalnotsew
4.79/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my friend in MI for the hookup. Color is kind of in between IPA and DIPA. Kind of dark but borders on wanting to be yellow. Pours with a well rounded head. Smell really reminds me Hopslam. Which still puts me in the mind of strawberry pie. Tangy but sweet tropical fruit with a sweet whipped cream smell. I can already tell I am going to love it. Really pick up on that sweet/tart tropical fruit right off but it sure does break into a exceptionally hard bitterness quickly. It really does linger after awhile too. Probably one of the more bitter DIPA's I have had. But also the sweeter. Either way this stuff is golden. Very oily mouthfeel while being quite drinkable. Please mass produce this time every year to tide us over til Hopslam again!

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Photo of JoePat
4.37/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a beautiful copper color with an off white head.

It has an awsome citrus aroma with some grapefruit, tangerine, and some lemon zest like notes. A little toasted, caramel sweetness that blends with the citrus notes.

It has a nice caramel sweetness along side some flowery and citrus hop flavors creating an explosion of flavor in my mouth.

Mouthfeel is smooth and slippery??? It just seems to slide over my tongue as the hops explode.

This is definately a sipping beer but I think I could easily see my self having more than one.

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Photo of a74gent
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 9901

A - a nice medium amber color with beautiful moderate head and sticky lacing.

S - A nice hoppy nose, but nothing distinctive. Just standard good grapefruit nose.

T - The taste is full, but a little too bitter hoppy for me. I'll rate it very high for the style, but not to my liking.

M - A very full mouthfeel with moderate stickiness.

D - If you like the bitter hop, this one is very well done without being just a hop bomb. A nicely refined, bitter hop glass. I'm not sure how you could drink very many of these though.

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Photo of caskstrength
3.23/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Wherefore The Oracle??

First off, I know it's ultimately insignificant, but how stupid is the "DoubleIndiaPaleAle Ale" label.

anyway....

pours nice. enough head. DIPA appearances as expected.

Smell is pineapple. whoa. some orange, but mostly pineapple.

Tates are tropical hops. alcohol. decent balancing malts. A tropical fruit DIPA, but the bar has been set high for Bells here. And this is simply OK. Not much fresh, juicy zest. A bit thick. Flavors not bouncing around at all. Boozier than I wanted, didn't help the profile.

More carbonation and lighter mouthfeel would have helped.

An OK pineapple forward DIPA. But it's not as good as hopslam or 2hearted, and I don't see much reason for its existence. Not sure what Bells is doing here.

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Photo of KeefD
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Gibby32 for hooking me up with this bottle. Nice golden orange color with a small white head, cap stuck around the entire length, left some light lacing. Great hoppy aroma on this one. Pineapple, lemon, and light pine make up the bulk of the aroma, with very little sweetness. Taste is fantastic. Great hoppy bitterness, yet not overly bitter and tongue searing, lots of pineapple and tropical fruit flavors. Really digging this beer. The alcohol can barely be felt under everything, which is good, and it's actually a little sweeter than I expected. Medium bodied, and the alcohol actually comes out as it warms up some more. Overall, a great DIPA. Not quite as good as Hopslam, but this was a great treat and glad I had the chance to try it. Thanks Mike!

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

The Oracle was released in Rochester, Minnesota in very limited quanities. While I was able to pick up 2 bottles for myself, a few were available at Whistle Binkies Ye Olde Pub.

A - A nice amber hue, golden when held up to the light. Light foam head which dissipates into a thick foam ring around the edges. Slight lace retention.

S - This was my favorite part of the beer! Freshly cut pineapple, huge pleasant citrus notes. Quite sweet smelling with a hint of bitter. Very, very nice smell. Perfect for a DIPA.

T - Nice citrus fruit notes, slight melon and lots of pineapple and lemon. Its sweet and fruity in the beginning, but toward the middle the bitterness starts to kick in and only gets more and more bitter toward the end. Bitter hop bite.

M - Nicely carbonated, soft and smooth up front but in the middle there is a bitter feeling that only gets stronger as you finish. It slightly drys the mouth. Slightly thick and coating, syrupy. Very nice for a DIPA with 10%.

D - Awesome DIPA! Exactly what I'm looking for. 10% is covered well in this one. Perfect drink for anytime, but more so after a long day.

4.5/5/4/5/4.5

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A-pours a deep transparent amber color with a dirty off white head.

S-the aroma is a hop explosion, a strong caramel and brown sugary malt foundation have a good presence up front but the hops dominate the nose. Tons of pine citrusy hops with a good bit of grapefruit and appricot in the back.

T-the taste is slighlty more balanced but still a hop focussed brew. the caramel and brown sugar are up front showing the true size of this beer as the malt foundation can still show under a hop blanket. Resinous piney hops take over, lots of bitterness setting in. the back end brings the sweet citrus with tons of grapefruit and the bitterness keeps hitting, its moderate in strength but long in duration lingering for some time.

M-the body is syrupy and a little grainy on the palate, falls off a little in the back making it slick on the throat.

D-huge beer, lots of balance but definitely a hoppy brew. there is definitely a nice tropical fruity sweetness in the back but the caramel, brown sugar and pine work together to transition the malts and hops. tasty stuff!

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Photo of LiquidCucumber
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - A cloudy dark orange, almost rust. Finger and a half of fluffy white head

S - Strong citric hops; oranges and grapefruits galore. I think there might be a touch of malt in there somewhere. Mouthwatering.

T - Astringent bitterness right up front, but strangely not as unpleasant as it sounds. The citrus is definitely there, however now I taste grassy earth and pine as the predominant hop characteristics.

M - Thick and creamy, coats the inside of your mouth with a resinous layer that tingles a bit.

D - Goes down very easy for the amount of hops and alcohol in this brew. Not my favorite but I am glad I got to try this rare beer.

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Photo of mashweasel
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 1 September

Had one last night at Pracna. Meh. Mediocre and insipid. Quite hazy. No real punch of hops in the nose. A bothersome used tea bag flavor without the real kick of hops or hop flavor. The HopSlam is a closer to a proper DIPA that this thing. Its hard to say it b/c Bell's is my favorite brewery from my home state.

For anyone that has ever had a true DIPA (Blind Pig, Pliny, Green Flash IIPA, etc) you will be disappointed. For the rest that love IPAs that arent really bitter IPA's but fat, sweet, boozy amber liquids, this one is for you. It didn't even smell right. Two Hearted has a much hoppier nose...

I'm not sure how people can compare it to a proper San Diego DIPA and then not rank it on the same comparison. 'Not really like what its supposed to be like. A'

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Photo of tewaris
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The Oracle
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Double IPA
10.0% ABV
OG?
IBUs?
12 oz bottle, bottled August 23, 2010, sampled August 31, 2010, poured into an Ommegang glass. Shared with a friend because of limited beer.

Appearance 4.5/5
Pours clear and deep amber red with an average off white head and great lacing.

Aroma 4/5
Faint aroma of malts and hops initially, but as the beer warmed, I could detect more prominent citrusy and grassy hop aroma riding on a solid malt base.

Taste 4/5
Bittersweet: the beer is well hopped and it is a bitterness blast but the malty sweetness never fades, until a medium dry and very bitter finish. For a beer this malty, the finish is amazingly clean. Overall balanced, but tilting towards flavorful hoppy bitterness, as is suitable for the style.

Mouthfeel 5/5
Perfect to style: decently carbonated, yet not overly crisp; between smooth and crisp, I would call it smooth, even creamy.

Drinkability 5/5
Could've had a few, had it not been for alcohol which is well masked; but more importantly, and unfortunately, there was just one 12 oz. bottle between myself and a friend!

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Photo of ahalloin
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I walked into my local good beer store today to pick up DFH Bitches Brew and the friendly beer-guy said he had nice surprise in addition to DFH BB. The distribution truck was being unloaded as I walked in with boxes of the aforementioned DFH and this most sought-after number. Since the store was only getting a case, he was limiting people to only one 12 oz. bottle. Fair enough. My mom taught me to share with the other children.

Batch 9901

Poured a dark yellowish hazy gold color with an affluent head of just slightly darker than off-white. The lacing remained all the way through the glass with "notches" (thanks Budweiser for that terminology!) A thick quaff of foam remained throughout my imbibing.

The smell isn't the most overpowering DIPA aroma I've smelled but it is nice and characteristic. Resiny, piney hops in the foreground with a freshness that makes me think of actual foliage and vines. A strong crystal malt backbone supports the hops. Somewhat on the sweet side of most DIPAs in the nose.

The flavor has a nice malty backbone of slight caramel and toffee with a citrus burst of hops that leads toward a very bitter finish. The bitter lingers for quite a while on the palette consuming the taste buds, making them tingle with glee (if you're a hophead) or cower with fear (if you're a girly-man). Notes of fresh cut grass, pine sap, and grapefruit come from the major hop additions.

Mouthfeel is medium large with a heftiness and creaminess.

The drinkability is a bit suspect for me. The taste goes through a rather wicked progression from caramelly sweet (at the front) to extraordinarily bitter which makes for an interesting beer, but I'm not so sure I would want more than one of these at a time.

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Photo of bobhits
3.64/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Orange/amber color, with a thick creamy eggshell white head (we're talking this could be used as a pillow), that leaves amazing amounts of lacing down the glass. As one would expect of a big DIPA, there isn't much bubbling action going on in the glass after the pour.

Sure hop resin full of citrus hops. There isn't a huge nose on this and the nose there truly is all hop and there's nothing wrong with that!

Opens with a caramel malt and quickly goes to a piney, grape fruity....just over powering hop flavor. A bit of alcohol in the finish and we're done.

Thick and creamy mouth. There isn't much carbonation and a good bite from the alcohol at the end. At 10% though this is thinner than i remember stone 10 year, hop slam, and some of the other big IIPA's.

This beer is going to end my desire for beer for the night, but it's darn good. That or in a few minutes from this review I'll be drinking a second one.

This isn't the flavor attacking beer I would have loved, but if this isn't just a darn good example of the style I don't know what is. That said I can think of 3-4 double IPA's I'd take over it off the top of my head. Though I think the way the malt balances this is rather unique and extremely good. There's plenty of reasons to seek this bad boy out.

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Photo of hardy008
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber orange color with a two finger off white head with good retention and lacing. The aroma is amazing. Grapefruit, oranges, pineapple, and mango. This should be really good.

It is really good. Sweetness and hop bitterness combine to make a very nice beer, with grapefruit, oranges, pineapple, and mango.

Medium to full bodied, perfect carbonation, smooth, creamy, easy to drink, and the alcohol is well hidden. I could drink this again and again.

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Photo of beerhan
4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow is all I have to say. This is one amazing beer that just gets me psyched for hop slam. It reminds me a lot of a hop slam with a stronger kick to it. The taste is phenomenal! My only real complaint is that it is not vert aromatic. I could seriously drink this forever it has such a great taste and mouth feel to it I am very sad it is so limited and that me and my friend drank the only two bottles at the bar

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Photo of WeisGuy
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 9901. Picked this one up just this afternoon and wanted to review it as fresh as possible.

a - pours a fairly hazy, deep golden color, frothy, two-finger light yellow head with great retention and awesome lacing, especially for a 10% beer

s - bitter grapefruit, orange and piney hops dominate the aroma, very resiny, lighter caramel malt and boozy notes

t - relatively balanced up front with the assault of grapefruit and piney hop bitterness being somewhat balanced by a decent caramel malt sweetness, this sweetness is light, but it does provide some depth of flavor to go along with the intense hops, the midpalate is all piney bitterness, the finish is quite dry and bitter, lingering citrus and pine mix with a very light biscuit malt note, there is a boozy heat that sits on the palate for awhile along with the dry bitterness

m - medium-bodied with ample carbonation, good alcohol warming effect, dry finish

d - this is a big beer and it doesn't hide the alcohol wall that well, but the flavors are great and while there is a light sweetness that balances out the hops a bit, it does not reach the cloying level that many big DIPAs seem to move toward nowadays

Really, really good DIPA from Bell's. I haven't had Hopslam in a few years, but this is nearly as good as my memory of that beer. For me, this isn't on the level of Pliny and Dreadnaught, but it's not far behind.

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Photo of Lukafer
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 9901

Appearance is an amberish color with a pinky of off white head. Smells are sweet malts, some pine and some citrusy and pineapple hops. Taste is sweet with pine hops, slightly citrusy hop finish. Kinda syrupy, medium bodied with a slightly low amount of carbonation. Drinkability is okay, I could maybe do two in a sitting. The more I drink this beer the more bitter the finish seems to get. A solid beer, glad I got my one bottle allotment.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was able to buy one bottle of this at From the Vine in Lewis Center. I only hope I can get more at other shops. The fresh batch #9901. Label says 10.0%

A- Nice, bright, vibrant orange in color. Small white cap adorns it. Lots of little pearls of lacing. The beer is pretty thick but not quite syrupy. It looks great.

S- It smells even better. Lots of fruits all over the place. Grapefruits, pineapples, tangerine, peach, lots of pine, lemon-lime, orange candies, and a slight caramel base.

T- This is a bitter one. Starts out with lots of bitter citrus rinds and grapefruit pith. It then moves into some strippingly bitter pine and finishes with a very welcome sweetness of orange candy, pineapple and tangerine. Alcohol will come around for a brief flash every once in a while but other than that its taste is hidden quite well.

M- Full bodied and nearly syurpy. This beer is almost sticky. Carbonation dies down quickly which I think is a good thing. Very resinous and oil bitter hops linger for a long long time. While the alcohol is hidden from your nose and tongue, it warms the palate pretty well.

D- A simply great DIPA. Its not better than Hopslam but its still a big, bruising midwest DIPA. Well worth a try, I just wish there were more of it.

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

on-tap, maduro, pre-great taste party

cellphone notes

appearance: pretty dark for a dipa - rich garnet-amber body, foamy tan head

smell: strong malt body, grapefruit peel, bitter citrus, lots of pine

taste: oracle comes through a bit boozier than hopslam with a bigger malt punch - pine is rather intense along with bitter grapefruit.

mouthfeel: relatively large body, high bitterness, alcohol present in the finish

drinkability; good

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

a: standard pint, medium amber in color, nice head

s: malty caramel nose with a strong pine and citric hop presence, dark musty pine, some yeast, nice

m: medium full body, moderate carbonation

t: caramel malt back holds up an assertive pine hop flavor, dark green and sappy, strongly bitter, tropical fruits, a real hop monster

d: good stuff, still prefer hopslam but glad to have had the chance

Maduro, Bell's Great Taste pre-party

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Photo of ZeroSignal
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle with Bell's batch code; no date

A - Pours a very clear burnt orange/light amber with a one finger off-white head. Very sticky lacing that clings to the glass like glue

S - Sharp, citric aroma - grapefruit rind and tangerine, pine resin. Smells a bit malty as well

T&M - Very acidic feeling hop bitterness; very pungent (not in a bad way). Big smack of grapefruit and pith; a bit piney. Medium to full body with lighter carbonation. Has a bit of malt to balance. Finish is somewhat sour, spicy and dry with a bitterness that seems to carry on without end

D - A very powerful brew; big on flavors, big ABV, but I can't put it down. About as drinkable as such a big beer could be I suppose.

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Photo of glazeman
3.73/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at the Michigan Brewer's Guild tasting: reviewed from notes

A: Dark amber in color with an off white head that had excellent retention

S: This one smelled fairly medicinal to me, with the hop notes being some sort of mixture of floral grapes and a little bit of pine

T: The taste was a tad sweet to start and bitter at the finish. Not much citrus in this beer, but some pine was definitely noticeable. Not my favorite tasting DIPA.

M: A little above average for the category with a nice mouthfeel and appropriate level of carbonation.

D: Something about the taste, causes me to not really be attracted to this beer. It's somewhat plain and not as interesting as I would have liked. The flavors don't sit well enough on the tongue to have me wanting more. With all that said, it really isn't a bad beer though.

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Photo of mattcrill
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Map props to malty for allowing me to sample this.

Aroma: Big orange citrus notes up front. Carmelly sweetness well knit into the floral and citrus-like hop notes. Clean ale characteristics.

Appearance: Slightly hazy amber pour with a thick sudsy white cap.

Flavor: More floral hop bitterness up front. A light, bready malt backbone that supports the hops but the balance is decidedly bitter. Finish is clean and dry.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body with medium carbonation. Slight hop astringency and background alcohol warming.

Overall impression: A dangerous, drinkable, well balanced DIPA. Bell's has another winner with this one. Thanks again to malty for the chance to try this.

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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.16 out of 5 based on 2,695 ratings.
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