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 Dwkasper
4.16/5  rDev -0.2%

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 -11.3%
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 +8.9%
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 -28.3%
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 +16.3%
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 +1.4%
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 +7.9%
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 oldn00b
3.86/5  rDev -7.4%
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 FightingEntropy
4.82/5  rDev +15.6%
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 oakbluff
4.17/5  rDev 0%
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%
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 CFHMagnet
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle labeled "PKGD 8/12/11" poured into a snifter
A bottom's up style pour got me a finger of off-white head that receded to a ring, a dusting and some clumps in a little over a minute. Body is an amber color with a rose tint. Has some lazy bubbles slowly making their way to the top. Some lacing noticed throughout consumption.

The first aromas are tropical citrus, I'm getting grapefruit and pineapple mainly. This fades and lets a strong pine resin smell in.

Ooh, hops. They are well balanced... between each other. I don't get much malt at all, but the pine and varied citrus hop flavors play off each other very well. Grapefruit and pine resin are the strongest flavors, but you do taste orange and hints of floral hops as well. Develops a medicinal alcohol aftertaste.

Very bitter, one for the hop heads like myself. Medium bodied, it goes down rather quickly, but there is almost no feeling from the carbonation. You get alcohol on the back end, but its not straight alcohol, its like a citrus medicinal alcohol flavor. No complaints, its good.

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Photo of BBP
4.6/5  rDev +10.3%
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 kenito799
4.74/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, IPA tasting

Fairly bright orange, clear brew, little head, fine bubbles with intricatelacing on the glass.

The fresh bright fruitiness that hits the nose is remarkable--passion fuit, pineapple, grapefruit.

Pleasing mouth-coating effect from so much flavorful hop oils...The fruitiness hits the palate first, a tropical fruit cocktail, quickly transforming to a mouthful of freshly cut pine needles. The finish si bitter and endless. This is a remarkable, amazingly delicious brew. I want my mouth to be continuously bathed in these fresh aromatic hop oils.

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Photo of JamesShoemaker
3.64/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled on 8/9/2013, reviewed from notes. Bell's lack of specific release dates is frustrating, because I had to make several dozen phone calls to find this guy a mere two hours from the brewery. My first experience with it four years ago was magical.

A - pretty good looking. Dark oranges and browns and little head produced on the forced pour. Mostly translucent.

S - the first thing that hits you is booze, then bitterness, followed by a faint, dank hop profile that signals a stickiness in taste and texture. Not altogether pleasant, but certainly not unpleasant.

T - too bitter, much too bitter. The sweet hop profile is lost almost completely to the bitter one, which, combined with a malt-forward finish, makes this beer taste almost like anise. The accompanying 10% ABV doesn't help things. There's hardly anything sweet here. It reminds me very much of Leviathan.

M - again, bitterness and booziness pervade. The lasting impression is a sticky booze bomb .

O - well, as with just about everything, the memory is better than the repeated experience. I wouldn't turn this down at a party of course, but I won't go out of my way or make any more phone calls for it. It would be interesting to sit on for a few months.

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Photo of humuloner22
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

This is a very nice offering from Bell's. Its not really like Hopslam, but it is very similar in respect to Two Hearted. I would say this is more like TH in that its malty, balanced, not overly sweet, but more boozy. Which you would expect from the abv.

Pours: Dark amber with some head in the aggressive pour, but it settles to virtually no lacing. Which based upon the abv and style is expected.

Aroma: Hoppy, boozy, some sweet maltiness. This is not a beer that is outstanding from the rest, but it is very solid. It might be confused with being too pedestrian, but I find it so well balanced that is why people would think in this regard.

Taste: Sweetness, piney, tropical and floral hops dominate ,but you get a good malt balance going on. Its very similar to Mars, I imagine they follow a similar recipe. My only complaint is that it does have a fair amount of alcohol in the taste. Not that this is a bad thing but its not one you can drink more than two of in a night.

Overall: I don't think this is a true west coast style DIPA, but I do think it is somewhat true to the style with a mid-west interpretation. Some have said its pretty mundane, but I think that is just people who have had too many Hop bombs this year. I felt this one was well balanced and enjoyable.

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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 JohnG190
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a clear, dark gold with a medium white head. Decent lacing. Aroma of pine resin gives way to grapefruit and toasted malts. Hop bitterness followed by apricot and grapefruit zest finish with pine and herbal notes at the back of the palate. Finishes dry and bitter. Full bodied with good carbonation. Overall, a well crafted DIPA.

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Photo of WeedKing4
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottled at the end of August 2009. Pours a slightly hazed orange with one finger foam forming at the top of the duvel glass. The first mouthful is packed with a bitter grapefruit hop bite, following with a very slight tingle on the tongue of the alc %. Boy, this is a big bad beer. Its quite drinkable actually, but you have to respect the abv %. Found this one at the very end of a beer haul, so glad I got to try it. Would have been nice to find a fresher bottle though.

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Photo of mchegash
3.87/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: A golden-orange appearance, fairly clear with a tad bit of haze. Lots of visible carbonation bubbles rising up the beer. A nice 2/3 finger of head which seems to stay around for a while.

S: Pine resin aromas, a bit of fruit.

T: Major pine and resin hops dominate. Hints of fruit, maybe of the tropical variety.

F: Lots of carbonation, fairly high level of bitterness. Fairly full bodied.

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

12oz bottle into MS cervoise. From notes

A - Deep orange, clear, small bubble yet good residual lacing

S - Citrus orange, grapefruit, clean pine

T - This beer was approximately 5 months old or so when I cracked her open. I was very surprised about how well the hops were preserved, but they were just muted enough to allow the bready malt to show through. I still got that grapefruit, pineapple and orange citric bitterness, but also enjoyed some of the caramel malts. It almost seems like this beer is better with a little age on it (a couple of months), ha!

M - Sticky, medium-light.

D - A good drinker with the bitterness mellowed out. A tad boozy but still very good.

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Photo of Beerzebub
4.67/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to gn0sis for this nice extra!

Poured into a big wine glass at 48F.

Rich golden-orange color, hazy, with practically no head, but a bit of finely patterned lace.

Aromas of biscuit, toffee, honey, and tangerine/peach/grapefruit/pine/spice hops, fresh and delicious.

Tastes immensely hoppy, even more than the aroma lets on. Full, fresh, juicy tangerine-peach hop flavor, with subtler grapefruit, pine and spice, backed up by a heavy but clean dose of bitterness. Clean sweet grain balances the bitterness very well. The bitterness grows, and dominates. Bitter citrus rind lingers for a very long, dry finish.

Fine cushy carbonation, restrained enough to avoid fizziness. Great drinkability, due to balance and a dry finish.

Absolutely killer DIPA!

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Photo of Extrajoker00
4.58/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Quick review from notes Michigan Brewer's Guild summer festival 7/25/2015: This beer had been on my want list for over 2 or 3 years. Bells reputation is upheld, as good as I'd hoped

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Photo of vtfan77
3.7/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was a bit surprised to see this at the local Total Wine, as I had apparently missed it at the other beer stores I frequent. I grabbed what appeared to be the last two bottles.

A- Clear golden orange with about a half inch of head. The head goes down fairly quickly and a ring of lace persists for the duration of the beer's life.

S- Quite sweet; citrusy hops melding with caramelly malts. A cotton candy/ marzipan-like sweetness rides under the hops.

T- Not as sweet as the smell would suggest. The hops take over with a piney, earthy character. The malt backs the hops up, but doesn't really assert itself except to add a bit of sweetness. Alcohol comes through pretty strongly on the finish, along with a moderate bitterness.

M- Rather thick and almost a little syrupy. The carbonation is decent and does its part to balance the mouthfeel out.

D- Not too bad for the style, but the alcohol and the thick mouthfeel hamper it a bit. I might have another, but one is probably plenty for a sitting.

Not a bad DIPA, but not amazing either. Perhaps I'm getting it a bit past its prime. The hops aren't particularly vibrant, and I have a feeling that they might have been much stronger a couple weeks ago. At any rate, a nice DIPA, although I definitely prefer hopslam.

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

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Burnished gold-orange color with brilliant clarity. Moderately large head with great retention.

Aroma-Juicy hops and alcohol/ester profile-tropical fruits with pineapple and mango leading the way with pungent, spicy, citric, and resiny notes close behind. Some hefty caramel malt and light toast form a backbone, with slight, peppery alcohol. Slight raisiny notes from the malt as well.

Flavor-Caramel malt with slight orange citrus notes gives way to a burst of pungent resin and pine with moderately high hop bitterness. Bitterness expands on the palate in the finish, but is still rather smooth, with slight traces of caramel and raisins blending with the spicy/pungent hop notes which seem to go on forever.

Mouthfeel-Medium full body with moderate carbonation. Smooth on the palate with light alcohol warmth and tongue coating bitterness.

What a great DIPA! Reminiscent of Hopslam with just a hair less hop character and a dab more caramel. Smells great, tastes great, and drinks great. What more could you ask for?

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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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