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The Oracle | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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The OracleThe Oracle
2,724 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,724 |  Reviews: 787
Photo of Burkbom23
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of MNBeerGeek
4.59/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This is my kind of IPA. Delicious hop bomb with some malt to balance it out. Pours a nice clear honey color. Not quite a one finger head that dissipates pretty quickly. Great lacing sticks to the glass. Smells very citrusy and resiny. The malt I'd rather hidden in the aroma. A hint of grassiness that ties it all together. Actually quite grassy as it warms. Great fresh citrus flavor. Bitter pine. Lemons possibly. Nice malt comes through in the finish without being sweet. Mouthfeel is full but nicely carbonated. Overall, damn this is a delicious IPA. Wasn't sure what to expect, but wow. Hop bomb meets nice malt balance meets superb drinkability. The 10% ABV is nicely hidden.

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Photo of kristougher
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of oldp0rt
3.25/5  rDev -21.9%

Photo of Magery
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of AndyEdgar
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

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

Photo of bsp77
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Hazy honey-gold with thin white head and broken lacing.

Smell: Light citrus, light spiciness and light toasted malts - nice, but too mild for a DIPA. I hope the taste is better.

Taste: Yeah, the taste is better than the aroma, but this is still a very standard DIPA. Citrus and pine hops countered by lightly sweet toasted and caramel malts. Ends spicy and bitter, with a bit more pine.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, full body that oozes hop oils. Warming and dry. The feel is the best thing about the beer.

Drinkability: What's with the hype? This is a standard DIPA, and Hopslam is much better. In terms of more typical DIPAs, give me a Hercules any day. Still, I do like it quite a bit and it is very well made, despite the weaker aroma.

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Photo of SFC21
4/5  rDev -3.8%

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

Thanks to kzoobrew for this bottle.

Poured from a 12oz. bottled marked "9306" into a Red Stripe pint glass.

A: Golden nugget amber that is translucent (until you get to the end of the bottle where all the good stuff is) and pours with a roaring white head that sits atop the beer the whole way through. Lacing is noticeable, especially with this beer.

S: A little hop character still kickin' here but mostly sticky tree sap. And you know what else? Baklava. Weird, I know.

T: Roasted chestnuts, honey, and a bitter hop finish. Reminds me of the taste of Honeycomb cereal. Bitter aftertaste too.

M: Sticky mcgee. Not necessarily creamy, but makes your teeth gravitate towards one another as you swallow. This makes the beer in my opinion.

D: 10.4%? I don't think so. I don't sense any booze for this ABV and it is medium-bodied at most.

Overall, a nice beer and another one to check off my Bell's list. Wish I could have tried a fresh bottle of this.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.06/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is not a purchase I had intended to make. To be honest, I didn’t even know Bell’s made a DIPA. But the amazing Dave (backfat) of Village Bottle Shoppe #2 let me in on the secret stash. Thanks dude!

I love a fresh IPA: this one was bottled about a month before the date of this tasting (“PKGD 8/12/11”).

A: Perfect, in every single way. The body is an incredible, shining burnt-orange; I’ve seen stained glass less vibrant than this. Adorning the top of this body is an off-white head, super-bubbly with silky cream beneath. Lacing runs webs of foam over ever part of my glass. Just superb.

S: Great pungent hoppiness, but not without a warm malt balance. Mango, grapefruit and a resin flower scent, telltale signs of Amarillo hops, pour over the body. There’s an aroma of sugary orange candy, mingling through the nose with the hoppy tones; it’s especially sweet, but still probably a product of the hops. Malts come out in an earthy, spiced, and bready way – a pumpkin-esque smell. This nose is bold, sugary, and just downright juicy! Very nice!

T: Powerful, but in a…different way. There’s an underlying richness of caramel malts and a savory spiciness that’s ever-present, but they’re easily trumped by the hopsplosion that is the rest of the palate. With a prickly intensity, fresh, fruity bitters make their way across my tongue; spiced apple, pine, and ruby red grapefruit all burst onto the scene with a mouth-puckering explosion. I would really only be able to explain the intensity of these hops to someone who has had fresh Ruination – so bitter it takes you by surprise, even with a DIPA. The aftertaste is, as expected, an incredibly dry experience, with a hint of booze that’s most apparent in your nose (like horseradish). I think I’d like this beer with a few months on it…give the palate some time to calm down a bit.

M: Very light for a beer with high (10%) alcohol content. The astringency is indeed palpable, but not uninvitingly so.

O: Damn, this beer is strong! I don’t think I’ve ever come across a brewery that could put this much flavor into a 10% ABV brew. And though I do like the flavors, the pungency of the whole thing just puts me off sometimes. It’s great beer, though, and I’m so glad Dave gave me a heads-up. Time to get another bottle to put some age on!

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Photo of woemad
3.59/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from a box from Gopens44 that was mostly VA beers, but obviously with a couple MI beers as well. Bottled-on stamp is smudged-it was bottled on the 16th, this year, but what month is unclear. I've heard a lot of good things about this beer on NBS.

Poured into a Mad Bomber IPA glass, this was a chill-hazed, slightly sedimentary dark golden amber color, with a big, creamy white head that stuck around for a while and left all sorts of lace.

Piney and peppery nose to this. Also a big, caramelly malt backbone. I've read that Bell's calls this a Northwest style DIPA. While it smells good, I wouldn't characterize it as anything other than a Midwest style DIPA, with what I tend to think of as the bigger malt backbone that the latter entails.

Bitter, piney hop flavor up front. That aspect transitions to a big, malty backbone, without a whole lot of in between. This strikes me more as a Midwest/ East Coast IPA that's been shorn of more citrusy hop flavor. It's good, but rather one dimensional. The high level of alcohol does not come through in the taste at all.

Medium bodied, with an oily, resiny mouthfeel.

Not a bad beer, but a a bit limiting, flavor-wise.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
4.01/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mikereaser sent this one to me. Thanks Mike.

A fairly vigorous pour of Bell's The Oracle produces a good looking beer. The boxy is a hazy copper color with a good amount of carbonation bubbles. The head is nearly three fingers tall, white colored, and immediately begins to leave lacing on my glass. It is also comprised of very large bubbles.

A big malt backbone jumps out at me, but it is quickly followed by a load of bitterness in the form of pine resin and grapefruit. A little bit of booze creeps into my nostrils as well.

The aroma might have fooled me a little bit with a burst of malt, but The Oracle is definitely all about hops, hop flavor, and hop burn. The hops lead off with a big citrus flavor that is absolutely packed with bitterness. The attack on my tongue waged by the bitterness continues, but with big, resiny flavors. The middle of the beer has a noticeable kick of alcohol, and the back end has a bit of pale malt, but just enough. The malt that is there is clean and understated. The finish supplies another burst of hops, and the aftertaste is a powerful combination of resin and grapefruit, with the grapefruit flavor being a little stronger. The aftertaste is really what stands out about The Oracle, it's the best part.

The mouthfeel is oily, but the body is surprisingly light.

I like The Oracle. Even though is has an edge of alcohol, it is a small one considering the ABV. One of the better IIPAs I've had in a while, especially considering they all start to taste pretty similar.

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Photo of GABrew
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of rangerred
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours a clear light gold with a pretty thick one finger white head. Large chunks of lacing cling to the sides of the glass. A very good looking beer for this strength.

Aroma is chock full of tropical fruit along with pine. A very juicy aroma that is quite inviting and mouth-watering.

Lots of juicy citrus in the flavor as well with only the slightest hint of booziness. Nothing like what would be expected of a beer that is 10%. There are some layers of pine underneath the citrus along with a fairly strong bready malt backbone. Bitterness is quite high as is the dryness. The dry mouthfeel really impresses me and makes this beer quite drinkable.

Overall, an absolutely outstanding IIPA and one of the best I have had. Many beers like this are a sweet, boozy mess but this one manages to pack in the alcohol but not the sweetness withough sacrificing body. An awesome beer.

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Photo of Overlord
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Ineedabeerhere!

Pours a bright golden orange. Large sudsy white foam head. Glows with a mild haziness when to the light. Very attractive brew.

Smells ... whoa ... smells bitter. Almost like an ESB taken to the ninth degree. Pine, some bitter grapefruit, and a toasted grain aroma.

This is, off the top of my head, the most bitter member of the IPA family tree I have ever had. Just palate wrenchingly bitter and hoppy. I never thought I would come across a beer that was too bitter, but this might be it. The pine-y, earthy, blast furnace nature is all encompassing. There's a hint, just a hint mind you, of sweeter grapefruit, orange, and maybe pineapple, but it's struggling for air.

Great syrupy, resin-y mouthfeel. I have to admit, 12 oz. was plenty.

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Photo of Thedrizzle
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%

Photo of mcallister
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Copper colored with a very frothy yellow head holding good retention and a very thin layer of lace around the glass.

Love the nose on this. Big biscuity bready malts are over ridden by thick citrus and pine aromas. Sweet tarts and a hint of berry. Hints of orange zest esters as well.

Nicely bitter with a much better malt prescence than hopslam in my opinion. Good alcohol bite and a big burn in the chest. Hoppy and bitter as hell which is a good thing. Finish is forever. Grapefruit and tangerine with pine flaor on the finish. Good carbonation gives it a very nice prickly mouthfeel that round this beers layers of flavor and complexity out nicely. Never ending flavors.

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

OHLRangers hooked me up with this one in Secret Santa '09. thanks ed!

12oz bottle. sampled feb 12/2010.

pours crystal clear deep dark orange, not quite red, with a small dense cream coloured head. the head drops quickly and leaves spotty lace as it falls.

aroma is great. bright orange and tangerine, big and juicy. caramel. grapefruit and pine. light alcohol. slightly powdery. white bread and cracker. bit of biscuit.

taste is great. grapefruit and a bit of pine. big orange and tangerine, but a little less juicy than in the aroma. slightly boozy alcohol. caramel. bit of toffee. lightly toasted white bread. cracker. hint of biscuit. medium-high bitterness level. as it warms, the sweetness and malty character comes out a little more, lending it a little more of a barleywine character. i also start to pick up a bit of a spicy/peppery aspect too.

mouthfeel is good. medium-large body, but with a fairly drying finish from the hops. medium-low very fine carbonation.

drinkability is great. you get flashes of boozy alcohol, but the assertive bitterness balances it out pretty well, and as it warms the body fills out and it really comes together.

 1,157 characters

Photo of funkel81
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of EB1
4/5  rDev -3.8%

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

BIG thanks to BuckeyeNation for this special bottle of Bell's. There are times I wish I still lived in Ohio. This would be one of those times.

Batch #9306, bottled 8/28/09.

Served chilled in an over-sized wine glass. I pour all but the final dregs into the glass and admire the radiant orange color. It's slightly hazy but that's to be expected with this style. It has a thin white head that settles leaving scattered lace on the glass.

Aroma is intensely hoppy with a definate citrus quality. Big grapefruit in the nose with more subtle tropical fruits.

Flavor takes some time to develop, perhaps because of the temperature. It seems sweet and innocent at first with some of that fruitiness up front. But, by the time it reaches the back of your mouth, look out! Huge hop bitterness and a burn that's either alcohol, alpha acids, or most likely both. Very bitter, almost tart and sour from the grapefruit-like hops, and just barely balanced out by a hint of sweetness. As it warms, it becomes more complex and enjoyable but my mouth is almost burned out from the experience.

Which brings me to mouthfeel. Medium body and lowish carbonation seems just about right for the style. It's far from balanced but it does have a nice wave of flavors and complexities from the hop profile.

Another amazing beer from Bell's. Now if they'd only distribute to Colorado...

 1,365 characters

Photo of taospowder
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of Chuckdiesel24
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of herman77
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 8/9/13
A: Clear light orange with a fairly creamy off white head for a big DIPA. Nice lacing and decent head retention.

S: Lots of citrus, orange, ripe grapefruit, mango and pineapple with a resinous under layer. Rich carmelly malts thrown into the mix as well. A bit of booziness as it warms.

T: Follows the nose pretty close. Tons of citrus, loads of grapefruit with a bit of mango and pineapple sweetness. A big heaping dose of carmel malt to keep all the hops in check. Excellent balance, just as balanced as Hopslam.

M: Fuller body for the style. Smooth and softer carbonation.

O: Dangerously drinkable, pretty much Hopslam level. ABV is hidden well, though you can tell its a DIPA. Kind of reminds me of a slightly sweeter, maltier double Two Hearted. A sweet, maltier double IPA, just my profile. Bells really knows how to brew big DIPAs.

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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Beer rating: 4.16 out of 5 with 2,724 ratings
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