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 CFHMagnet
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
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 kenito799
4.74/5  rDev +13.9%
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 justinp444
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy mango orange with a inch and a half thick slightly peach white head. Smell is of tropical fruit, citrus, pine, oranges, grass, and earth with a nice bit of biscuit-y malt. Taste is dry bitter, grass, citrus, oranges, the back end has pineapple, and caramel malt flavor. It has a moderate to full mouth feel that is quite resiny and a medium body with just a bit too much alcohol.

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Photo of JamesShoemaker
3.64/5  rDev -12.5%
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 +8.2%

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 CaptCleveland
4/5  rDev -3.8%

12oz bottle, dated 08/08/2014, poured into SA glass.

Hazy, golden-honey elixir, one-finger white head dissipates to thin rim. Scant lacing.

Heavy pine, citrus, subtle spice and earth tones.

Citrus, mangoes, spice, pine. Alcohol after taste brings this one down a bit.

Medium body, alcohol presence.

Good not great DIPA.

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Photo of jpmclaug
4.16/5  rDev 0%
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 +2.2%
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 mchegash
3.87/5  rDev -7%
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 WeedKing4
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
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 Extrajoker00
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
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 OakedCanuck
4.2/5  rDev +1%
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 +12.3%
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 LAp
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big nose from the bottle. Very reminiscent of Unsessionable, or some of the incredible Alpine IPAs - lots of savory hops mixed with pine. A vaguely cloudy honey-orange with a thick half-finger off-white head. Nosing from the glass yields a sharp profile, ripe with pine, hop, a touch of tangerine, The palate straddles an intriguing line between malty, dank-savory, and purely bitter IPA. The opening is caramel malt sweetness, but mixed with a dank double IPA vibe. These give way to an aftertaste that is raw, almost abrasive (in a good way) bittering hop. A unique amalgam of IPA styles. The beer carries a solid body - medium-to-medium-thick.

It's an incredible beer that almost tastes like Hopslam imbued with more West Coast sensibilities. The entire package doesn't come off quite as polished as does the aforementioned titan of Bell's, but it's a formidable figure nonetheless. It's a beer that blurs styles in an almost-unrefined way, and a worthwhile meditation on the versatility of the DIPA.

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Photo of vtfan77
3.7/5  rDev -11.1%
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 +8.2%
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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Photo of jwerner23
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%

I think this beer has potential but isn't quite there. It is a little too hot right now, maybe with a couple more weeks of aging it will mellow the alcohol flavor out a little. I think it is a good beer don't get me wrong but just a little too much alcohol flavor right now. The weird thing though was the first couple drinks were very good, but then the hotness of the alcohol started showing up. I will come back to this in a couple weeks when I let a couple bottles age a little.

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Photo of yuenglingfan101
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into my pint glass. Another great beer from one of my favorite breweries. This beer had a orangeish hue to it and with a little bit of head. Had the taste of grapefruit and other citris flavor to it. Taste like an IPA. Nice occasional beer with friends.

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Photo of Qbdoo
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A light golden color with a solid white head head. Aroma is not super strong but it's mostly tropical citrus. Taste is similar with a light grapefruit touch combined with a rather bitter hop bite. Texture is pleasantly light and effervescent, particularly for a DIPA. Not quite "world-class" but a tasty and drinkable DIPA. Wish it were year round.

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Photo of Wisconsinality
3.28/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into SA perfect pint.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pale orange amber. Um. It's light. But it's not like yellow, like, at all. No. It's amber. But orange amber doesn't really describe it, either. I should be a color wheel, man. It's a good color. A finger-sized head of almost white tiny bubbles that hang around leaving lacing that never leaves. And a thin film that's there until I finish my glass. Very nice. I'd like the head to last longer (the head proper is only around for 2-3 minutes).

Smells like some malty hoppy dipa we've all had before. Huh. Cascades or similar up the yin-yang (as they say). You smell hints of fields 3 or 4 days after they've spread manure. Oh, there's no way at all you have the slightest clue what I'm talking about. It's earthy. Certainly not "shit" or "barnyard" but there are hints of that in with the earthy grassiness.

Pulling in a sip... It's rich and thick and, yeah, hoppy as all get out. But rich and thick - there's the sweet balance to that ridiculous hoppiness. Kudos, guys! Serious. Pt[E|Y]: eat your heart out! Just watching it slowly ooze back down the side of the glass is an experience... Amazing. And now the whole side of my snifter is covered with foam - just from the one sip. more plus points on the appearance. Anyway, right. Flavor. Sweet and bitter grapefruit. Thick and sweet and bitter and grapefruit. Thick and sweet not at all like a grapefruit of any kind. Like a DIPA should be, frankly. Yes, of course it's amazingly bitter. But there's a big malt backbone to balance that out. And there's no way you detect any alcohol in it - it could be the most amazing energy drink you've ever had, for all you know! But, no, it's fricking beer! This is beer! GTFOOH! Wow. OK. Let's not go overboard. I'm a hardass when it comes to reviews. I've got a reputation to live up to. I've got to find faults. "Hang with me, Joe!" I guess it could use the tiniest bit more sweetness to balance the bitter. Of course, most people won't get to try it this fresh so that will probably be taken care of. Ah. Shucks. I guess this is exactly the way a DIPA should taste, then. You win!

Spot on in the mouth and if I were local and whatever I'd buy cases of this to drink mostly on my own but maybe with a little help from my wife. But, seriously, very nice. Score!

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Photo of rudylaw
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle courtesy of hoppymeal. Thanks Derek!

Pours an extremely bright orange with a huge white head that has plenty of lacing.

Smelly of juicy orange, tangerines, melon and pineapple. Not like any IPA I've ever had!

The taste is an explosion. Hoppy with pineapple stealing the show. Juicy, juicy pineapple. I'm not catching much of the orange and tangerine I originally smelled, but that's fine. There is a tiny hint of caramel balance present as well.

The mouthfeel is amazing! Perfect, medium carbonation. Unbelievably drinkable. Just an absolute frigging pleasure. Bell's continues to not be happy to just make beers, they're happy to crush styles into oblivion. One of the best DIPA's ever! Make this an annual and DISTRIBUTE!

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Photo of Brez07
3.97/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing from last months notes. Batch 9306. Thanks to heliosphann for sending this one my way. Poured into a snifter

A: Orange/ruby pour that leaves a 1/2 finger white head. Not much lacing in the glass

S: A blend of hops, sweet fruit and alcohol. Malt is fairly present. Seems like this will be a well balanced beer

T: Good amount of hops, but somewhat faded, adding a bitter quality. There is some sweetness from the fruit trying to break through. Malty finish

M: Medium bodied, pretty smooth and creamy. Good carbonation, slight bitter aftertaste

D: Fairly good. Great beer, but I would stop at one. Alcohol is hidden well, but it creeps up on you with each sip. One of the better balanced DIPA out there

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

Thanks to buschbeer for this one. Just shy of two fingers of slightly off-white head. Light haziness in the golden/bronze color. The first smell I got was pineapple...and not just by a little. The pine and grapefruit were more of an afterthought for me. There's a slight hint of some burnt sweet malts. This is pretty good, but I was really expecting more. I'm not sure what it is, but other than Two Hearted, Bell's just doesn't do it for me.

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Photo of SykDoc
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a tulip. It pours a nice mildly hazy copper color and forms a 1.5 inch off-white head that slowly reduces to a nice lacing. Carbonation visible and no sediment.

The aroma is a great blend of a caramel malt backbone and some very nice citrusy hops components. Bitter smelling, yet sweet.

The taste is as the aroma. A nice blend of malty backbone with a pineapple sweetness and a nice citrus bite and pine with just a bit of herbal presence. Some alcohol presence as well.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a unique thickness/texture that makes it seem full bodied. Evenly balanced carbonation and a nice dry finish.

This is a great beer. The only thing that keeps from giving it a 5 overall is the alcohol and texture which leave your palate sufficiently satisfied after one.

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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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