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: 786 | Ratings: 2,710
Photo of KornWallace
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Date: 8/28/14
Location: DeCicco's Harrison
Glassware: Snifter

Appearance: Amber to Orange in color with a cloudy fluffy white head. The head is wildly long lasting. Opaque and fairly easy to see through when held to the light. Very nice cling
Aroma: The hops give off a truck load of fruit aroma. Rinds of grapefruit, mango, and pineapple hit hard. In the back there is a light bread malt.
Taste: The fruit again is the star- the hops attack and overpower nearly every part of the palate. Intense hop bitterness.
Mouthfeel: Medium to medium heavy body. Medium carbonation. The hop resins sit on the tongue for ages and leaves lip smacking dry bitterness.

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Photo of zachary80
4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 10588, bottled on 8/12/11. Poured into a Bell's Tulip.

Oracle starts off with a moderate white head, that only lasts a couple minutes. Body is closest to orange with a slightly brown tint.

Aroma is citrusey sweet, grapefruit and lemon come to mind first.

Flavor has a nice bitter/sweet balance. Flavor is predominantly from the hops, pretty heavy citrus influence. High level of bitterness lingers a long time. Alcohol presence is not noticeable.

Mouthfeel is good, nothing very notable.

Overal The Oracle is one of my favorite beers, a great DIPA, and definitely the best I've had that comes in a sixpack

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Photo of auroracrisis
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Got this as a freakin' extra in a trade. Thanks Brad! Never thought I'd be able to try this one.

Pours a golden orange with a one finger head. Looks almost identical to Two Hearted ale, which is a glorious looking beer so no complaints here. The head dissipates after a few minutes to a ring of foam with spotty lacing as the beer is consumed. Not bad.

Still some decent hop citrusy character in the smell after almost 3 months of being in the bottle. Almost no bittering, just juicy hops. Man, this one probably blew people out of the water fresh if it's still smelling this good after 3 months. I checked the batch number on Bell's site and it said this was bottled on 8/28/09 (batch 9306). Lots of sweet malts in the smell too.

Taste is dominated by hops up front. As you swallow there is more hops, this time bittering and a little bit of alcohol and some malts. Pretty good tasting but the alcohol is kind of turning me off a bit. Strange. I bet fresh the alcohol wouldn't be noticeable at all but here I can really taste it.

Mouthfeel is good. Decently carbonated, not chewy, with a medium body. No complaints.

Drinkability is not the best. I think it's the alcohol presence in this that is taking away from it. Both the affects of it and the taste. Oh well, wish I could have tried this fresh. I'm sure it was awesome. Thanks for the opportunity, Brad!

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Photo of Magpie14
4.77/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: a wonderful hazed golden tangerine body with sticky whipping cream colored top. In addition, the head is a reasonable sized layer off fluff with a surprising amount of "clingy" properties. I find the presentation has very admirable features, very nice looking

S: well...gee, this is as close as you can come to liquified hops. A hint of sweetness basks in the grapefruit, orange, and tropical fruit goodness. Malts are non-existent in the nose, as far as I can tell. This is what DIPA's are all about...this thing smells banging

T: the mouth does not disappoint either. Luscious hops permeate in every sip and a small helping of toasted pale malts is not far behind. The most notable hop flavor is the tropical laced juicy pineapple. This is augmented with some oranges, lemons, and grapefruit and a light wisp of pine characters, I like! After a few sips I must say that the hops are in a friendly assault type of mode, this baby gets a bitter snap as it warms
From my memory, due I dare say, that it seems it is not as balanced as Hopslam, or as good. Yet, the Oracle is better than the majority of other DIPA's I have ever had. Amazing!!

M: well, here we have a solid beer with medium body with mild carbonation. The balance between sweet and bitter plays nice in the mouthfeel. What is great is that it is not overly sticky or clammy and retains a hearty bitterness that bites but never scars the palate. This beer is just all that I look for in a hop ladened brew. As a result this is one of the better, for the style, drinking brews I have had

D: this has jumbo hops and jumbo greatness. Am I surprised that this beer is incredible? Not really, it is from Bells what do you expect. If you can get a bottle, get two.
Thanks to the beer wizard midnite2sixman for the bottle and his uncanny knowledge and connoisseur mentality. Most wizards carry a staff into battle...he carries beer

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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 rhinos00
3.48/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to pecorasc for sharing this one. Poured into a wine glass. Bottled 08.29.09.

A- Pours a very dull amber. Semi-clear with a fingers width of white head...had a very soapy appearance. Some lacing as consumed.

S- Mix of citrus and tropical fruit with a sweet malt backbone. Decent amount of alcohol in there as well.

T- The high level of bitterness and alcohol really masked the nuances of this beer. Upfront bittering hop oil numb the palate. Following is mixture of sweet malts and mango, pineapples, oranges. Finished with a piney bitterness and a hefty amount alcohol.

M- Light to medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Some sticky residue was left on the palate.

D- This was only 10% abv? Felt more like 13% or so. Heavy hitter that was a little hard to put down because of the high bitterness and alcohol.

Overall, I know this isn't fresh, but even so, I think Bell's missed the mark with this one. I'm honestly quite surprised with the positive reviews...especially the most recent ones as those probably had a bit of age on them as well. I'll stick to Hopslam instead. This is just way too big of beer to be enjoyed.

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Photo of Anthony1
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a slightly hazy deep golden, orange-tinged amber with sparse amount of carbonation and almost a finger's worth of frothy off-white head that settled into a thin, creamy patch and deposited thick, mesh-like lacing all around the glass. Pungent fume of pine needles, grapefruit, citrus rind, boozy alcohol notes and burnt caramel malt. Aroma is quite strong and fragrant, brimming with hops and beefiness. Aggressive hop assault right off the bath with plenty of sticky sweet pine, followed by a fairly pronounced alcohol presence and decent backing of sweet caramel malts and burnt sugars. Juicy citrus character. Thick and syrupy texture, definitely a beefy medium-bodied DIPA . Finish is slightly dry with a long-lasting, lingering bitterness.

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

A: pours clear amber, very nice two finger off white head, laces very nicely and with every sip. Settled to a thin overall layer with a thick halo.
S: first is pine, then some floral hops, reminds me of hopslam without the honey.
T: good amount of pine hop up front and in the aftertaste that is very long lasting. Malt sweetness is just enough to lightly balance the hops out. 10%abv is not noticeable.
M: a good smooth yet thick dipa, lightly coating.
O: I like this a little better than hopslam, in that it is not as hop forward but still is, if that makes sense.

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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 Neorebel
4.48/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottling date: 8/8/13

The oracle, in my most humble opinion, is as good as it gets for an American DIPA. First of all, the color itself is a striking and sunny yellow-orange. It has a slight haziness but no actual flacks of sediment visible to the naked eye. There is plenty of effervescence in the beer, obviously showing that it is not going to be the least bit flat. The head on this is a shade just shy of cream colored, and is copiously foamy. I don't recall the last time I've seen such lacing/head retention on a DIPA.

The aroma is bursting with bright, fresh fruit esters, such as kiwi, grapefruit, and pineapple. Some herbal notes as well, and not overly sharp. Malts are somewhat represented in the aroma too, as I pick up a slight sweet bread aspect in there.

Wow, after tasting this I must say it is quite a bold hoppy brew. I was wrong about the malts, as I am not getting much of that at all in the flavor. This is a very coarse and abundant hop flavor - for hop fanatics only! West coast style. There's some slight interplay with pineapple but mostly this is a resinous and piny festival of bitterness rolling across the tongue with each sip. It's not overly complex. Extremely dry finish.

It feels a little lighter than a 10.00 ABV but it certainly warms on the way down. Does not stick to the palate an awful lot either. This is an American excess style through and through. Hops on steroids. Not quite 120 minute IPA but close!

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Photo of Hyptochrons
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

golden orange appearance, dense white head. good retention and lacing. floral aromas as well as grass, pine, caramel. palate is orange, grapefruit, spicy floral note, caramel malts, pine. solid feel.

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Photo of MNishCT77
3.94/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle purchased at Connecticut Ave. Wine & Liquors in NW D.C., bottled on 8/9/13, poured into my FFF Teku glass, drank 9/20/13 over a half-hour.

A: 3/3 - deep orange-golden coloration, minimal clarity (can't see or read through), initial soapy white head dissipates into subtle glass lacing, big time alcohol legs, which is to be expected for 10%!

S: 10/12 - mostly citrus fruit aroma - grapefruit, pineapple and apricot - and, as expected, some malt breadiness and lots of booze; it smells great but I wish that the aroma was more intense

T: 15/20 - on the anterior tongue, there is an intense slap of citrus-like bitterness; it the middle of the mouth, the bitterness continues to linger with some malt balance (marmalade and honey flavors) and alcohol; although it finishes dry, the worst aspect of the taste, in my opinion, is the lingering bitterness, which was super unpleasant on the first sip but attenuated over time (sloughing off taste buds)

M: 4/5 - super-bodied with thick hop oils coating the tongue, the alcohol is present but doesn't taste like a 10%er to me; impressively high carbonation for a 10% imperial IPA that does not detract from the flavor profile

O: 8/10 - after a really negative experience with Hopslam in early 2013, I was expected another overly bitter and poorly balanced DIPA; even though there was a huge slap of bitterness on the first sip that lingering, it muted over time; the flavor/aroma profile is solid, but, for me, doesn't stand up to some of the more intense imperial IPAs on the market like Surly's Abrasive and Founder's Double Trouble; however, I would recommend this one to anyone who likes Hopslam and doesn't mind a bitter, boozy imperial IPA that finishes dry

TOTAL = 40/50

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Photo of oldn00b
3.86/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

07/2015 bottle poured into IPA glass.

Pours a clear dark orange, nice pillowy head. Gorgeous DIPA.

Nose is muted hops and decent malt forward. Not what I expected.

Flavor on this seems off to me - huge amounts of malt and a really subdued hop profile. I feel like this must have spent days in the back of a hot truck. Malt forward and hops there but thinner than expected and not really all that pleasant.

Glad I got to try it but what I have definitely doesn't stand up to the hype.

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Photo of Dwkasper
4.16/5  rDev 0%

A: Golden bronze, thick white head, good lacing, single tunnel of CO2 bubbles rising in the center of the glass, even a little nuts and oil

S: Not a strong aroma but woody, earthy, maybe just a hint of citrus and over ripe peach

T: Bitter up front, strong taste from the first sip until a few seconds after. Piney, bitter hops and oily. This is the 2nd time I've had this beer and the first that the tastes were this strong and pungent. Strong malt and syrupy after taste that sticks to the tong.

M: harder carbonation, chalkiness on the tong

O: Good beer. For some reason, the first time I had it was much easier to drink. 2nd time had more bitterness and malty syrup that I didn't like as much. Overall, I will pick up this beer when I can get it.

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Photo of ne0m00re
3.7/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

09/29/10- Had a 12 oz bottle of the batch 9901.
A: Hazy dark amber, nice creamy thick film.
S: Musty/earthy/piney hops, beet sugar and honey, nice white wine and creamy vanilla.
T: Very bitter piney hops finish; nice honey and clean wood characteristics. Tastes like a West-Coast IPA, which is what they were going for.
M: Moderately syrupy, nicely frothy.
D: Not too bad. One or two bottles is fine.

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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 Tonyjenlasc
2.99/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 2.75

Bottled 7/10/15

Look - Awesome honey color, hazed
Smell - Floral, herbal, malty, dank
Taste - Overly floral/herbal. A little dank. Crazy bitter and astringent. Almost hard to drink.
Feel - Slightly creamy. Sticky and dry

Overall - This beer was a huge disappointment for me. Maybe I got to it past it's prime. It was kept cool though and figured the 10%ABV would make it hold up a little longer. Who knows. This one was tough to finish. Not my cup of tea.

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

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass.

Pours a light amber color, two finger head that fades. Smells pf hops and citrus. Tastes phenomenal! Maltier than Hopslam. Hoppy, citrusy, hints of caramel and toffee. This might be my favorite beer that Bells offers.

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

Got a case this weekend so had to sample a bottle today. Same batch as all the previous reviews poured into a Belgian cereal bowl style goblet.

Appearance- Beer pours an amber gold with a pillowy head of 1.5 finger foam with lace that clings to the sides. Foam lingers for about a minute and a half then dies down to a murk across the top.

Smell- Holy lupulins batman! This smells hoppier than anything I had at the brewery this weekend and they did have hopslam on tap. Just like hopslam this smells to be unbalanced towards the hop and I'm getting very little malt. Unlike hopslam, there's no added honey sweetness from that additive, and a but of our friend the Simcoe cat urine smell, not that they have a bad thing going with that. If I couldn't get Hopslam in OH, I would have picked up a case of that instead.

Taste- Where there is no underlying sweetness in the scent, there is an ample sweetness on the taste and a nice warming tongue blistering pine, and a little spruce type flavor. I have that hop schnapps feeling on my mouth afterward that makes me instantly wonder what the gravity on this thing is.

Mouthfeel- Mildly sticky, lightly warming, I don't think this is a 15% monster, but there is plenty of gravity here to get the job done. I also wouldn't say this is a cloying beer which also wins this one some extra points.

Drinkability- This is a nice drinking DIPA, but it's going to be difficult for me to go through the whole case with this one. Looks like I'll be attending some tastings and doing some sharing!

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Photo of malty
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 9306

Poured into my wide mouth stemmed chalice (Abbaye du Val-Dieu) a chill hazed glowing orangish bronze with a 1/2" off-white creamy head. Very minimal visible carbonation uprising. Nice clinging smatterings of globs & lace all the way down.

You can smell this liquid as soon as you pop the cap from 3 ft. Drawing my nose over the rim of my glass I get a big dose of bursting hop aromas bathed in creamy caramel with a dash of nose tingling alcohol. Tropical fruit laden broth oozing with pineapple & apricot. A smidge of vanilla nougat and a pinch of citrus zest. All of these aforementioned scents are FRESH!

Oh la la - very pungent hop attack as soon as my tongue is dampened by this piney potion. The tropical fruit sweetness so strongly detected in the nose is reversed into an ultra dry and chalky hop bombardment at first quaff. A couple more sips tell a clearer tale of masterful layers of zesty, bitter, rindy and resinous hop complexity. The hop flavors are a swirling vortex of tongue-curling goodness that settle into a deep satisifaction and pleasure only a well crafted DIPA can deliver. I feel a slight warming in my chest after half of my bottle is consumed, although no alcohol taste is detected.

Mouthfeel is between med.- full with a slick & oily feel that is underpinned by a kinetic, ultra fine carbonation. Long and lingering prickly hoppy finish with a gentle malty softness.

Drinkability is very good. If I weren't driving or had any major responsibilites, I'd put a few of these away with a glossy grin.

Overall a very tasty, well-crafted and satisfying DIPA that delivers in all the categories. This is a very special ale that has now begun its superior legacy.

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Photo of FightingEntropy
4.82/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark gold double IPA that has a bright white head. Massive nose--grapefruit, citrus, peppery spice, pine and a nice malt and earthy blend. Makes the beer simply fun to drink in small sips to maximize the number of times your put your nose in the glass. Oily resin and pine--my fav in a DIPA--in the taste--and pleasantly blistering bite that lingers to the point of just about but not quite overwhelming the taste buds. Dry aftertaste. Get this one if you haven't yet. Two months in the fridge and still going strong. Patience is your friend--let this one warm up in a snifter through a football game on a Sunday afternoon, and you may even be able to tell you're future--another glass!

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Photo of Mongrel
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big rice and honey up front, and then some apple and grapey vinous notes give way to your more typical hoppy bitterness. Love the big honey-sweet center that's more than offset by a boatload of resinous hops. Finishes really impressively dry, with lingering bitterness and an enticing herbaciousness.

Smells like honey, grape, lavender and pine sap. The whole beer reminds me a lot of Hoptimum, maybe even a little more unique and nuanced. Stellar stuff.

P.S. - as I look through the other recent reviews, I realize this brew is for old-school hop heads who like aggressive, piney, resinous, tongue-coating BITTERNESS. Not so much for late-comers whose ideal IPA is a zero IBU fruit juice smoothie.

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

12 ounce bottle- pours a muddy mandarin orange with a soapy white head. Nose- a fruit cocktail of guava, pineapple, mango, etc. Taste- similar hopping to hopslam in taste except more earthy bitterness. Reasonable amount of malt sweetness and body help to balance out this hop bruiser. Mouthfeel is slick with proper carbonation. Finish is dry dry dry- the hops suck all moisture from the mouth. This is a no holds barred dipa. I can only imagine what it was like fresh.

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

A- beautiful looking brew! Pours a copper amber with good clarity. A finger of off white head crowns this glorious liquid. Decent head retention with very good sticky lacing.

S- starts off with pungent hop resin with notes of pine sap and hemp. Big juicy grapefruit characteristics intertwine with a touch of tropical fruit mango. Finishes with the faintest hint of malt as it drowns in the massive hop aromas.

T- juicy yellow grapefruit and pungent pine hop flavor relentlesly explode on the palate. Softer hop notes of tropical fruit play off the initial flavors with a lasting resiny bit towards the end. Solid crunchy bitterness blends with a balancing malt backbone with a slight caramel note. Finishes dry with a lingering hop flavor and a warming alchohol characteristic.

MF- smooth creamy coating mouthfeel with a medium body. Great fine carbonation that hightens the creamy aspect.

D- very good drinkability. The complexity of hop flavor keeps one coming back for sip after sip.

Overall an outstanding DIPA. Bravo Bell's!

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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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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.16 out of 5 based on 2,710 ratings.
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