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The Oracle | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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BA SCORE
93
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728 Reviews
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The OracleThe Oracle
BEER INFO

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:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-04-2009

BEER STATS
Reviews:
728
Ratings:
2,507
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
19.86%
 
 
Wants:
457
Gots:
357
For Trade:
7
User Reviews
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Reviews: 728 | Ratings: 2,507
Photo of SaucyA
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Last of the 10 that I bought. Figured I'd get a review of it in. Obviously I already think it's pretty good.

A - Poured into my St. Feuillien balloon. I know I know, but I like it. Clear copper body with a nice little jet of bubbles shooting up from the nucleation site in the glass. The head, a 1 finger white cap of foam, sticks around for a little bit, and laces the glass the whole way down.

S - This is actually deteriorating a bit since the last bottle I had. What once was almost pure hoppy pineappley goodness, is now slightly vegetal and wet-grassy. However the more it opens up, the more it smells like it originally did... a fruity melange of hop aromas and an underlying malty sweetness.

T - While the hops have diminished slightly since the release, there is a definite kick in the mouth from the alpha acids. This is basically a hop bomb with the only balance being from a light malt base and a decent amount of residual sweetness. It's quite bitter, but totally works. In terms of an American DIPA, it's spot on, with it's only rivals being other Bell's and Short's brews, and west coast hop monsters.

M - Nice thickness, nice oily mouthfeel on the backend, and great carbonation. Solid beer.

D - I normally don't think of DIPA's as a go to beer, but if this was available, I'd buy it all the time. One of the better DIPA's out of Michigan recently.

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Photo of Lauthaha
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a beer mug.

Appearance: Beer pours a golden/copper color, with a great deal of visible carbonation. Head is pretty thick and frothy, with an eggshell-white color to it. Moderate lacing as the head recedes, great retention.

Smell: I really wish I didn't have allergies right now...but even with a stuffed up nose, I can sense a great deal of flavor. Grassy at first, then a wallop of citrus and spice, a subtle malty base, and just a hint of ester.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy, it flows like hoppy lava across the tongue. The sharpness of the hops and spice are mellowed by a smoothness in the malt. So creamy. Some wildflower tendencies with a grassy touch, and as the sip comes to an end, a supremely bitter dryness settles onto the palate. Simply beautiful...I'll take a keg, please.

Overall: Nearly perfect. I think the only thing that could make this beer any better would be to put it on tap (preferably a nitro-tap). Supreme!

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Photo of JayAre46
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - 12 oz bottle pours a deep transparent amber with a sticky rocky head. shows great retention, active carbonation pushing the rockies. great lace.

A - sweet caramel and light citrus, not a big hop presence but it is there, more of a candied caramel. resembles a fresh citrusy barleywine.

T - big sweetness up front, mango, more caramel, very pale crystal malt, for such a huge flavor its not very heavy on the palate. good bitter finish that remains. some heat in the end.

M - kind of on the thin side for such a big flavored dipa, carbonation is moderate although is shows quite an active presence. definitely a cool weather dipa in the heat i could see the drinkability going out the window but complimenting tonight.

O - very pleasant surprise while i haven't had a lot from bells i do not like two hearted much at all, this one was a 180 for me, well done. makes me want hopslam for sure. thank you elephantrider for the extra

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Photo of Franz4
4.41/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Color appears as an alost crystal clear copper with an off white head about a 1/4 inch, as it settled left some slight lacing.

S- surprisingly sweet citrus smell, almost like candy orange slices, what stands out most is what's missing--which is the hoppy, piney scent that accompanies most dipa's. I'm very intrigued by this beer.

T- The hops come through in the taste in a very balanced manner. Still seems to have a bit of the sweet citrus noted previously, but is balanced nicely with the hoppiness. Some other complex flavors that aren't readily lending themselves to my limited vocabulary. A very complex beer.

M- Hits the mouth intensely at first, and then balances out, it's not a beer you'll drink by accident! Leaves something to chew on and ends nicely with the rich, complex tastes lingering in a pleasant aftertaste.

D- Extremely drinkable for its ABV, as I barely noticed the alcohol. I'll definitely seek this one out again, shame its in such limited quantities.

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Photo of chaz410
3.17/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this bottle at Common Market.
Pours a beautiful orange tinted amber body with a half finger width white head.
Smells of grapefruit, pine and grassy hops with a very heavy caramel and toasted malt character.
Taste more like an imperial pale ale than an imperial IPA. It has a very smooth orange and caramel blend character with lots of hints of pine, pineapple, apple, and earthy hops.
Mouthfeel is exceptionally smooth.
It is very easy to drink dispite the ABV and the syle

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Photo of salvo
4.67/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out crystal clear straw yellow with strong brown and red tones. Off-white head stains and etches the glass and lasts and lingers through the bottle. Nose is pine and grapefruit with other earthy tones and citrus smells in the background. Leather and butterscotch are just barely perceptible.

The taste has a pronounced lean towards lime over any other citrus: a nice, unique surprise. Strong hop character: biting, assertive, tangy, and earthy. The bottle conditioning offers a creamy rich mouthfeel which is a step up from the tap.The beer improves with some age.

In May, I was lucky enough to have Oracle on tap. It's better from the bottle. I paste my tap review for reference:

Oracle double IPA head going strong after 15 minutes. Bitter, earthy hops with citrus and pine. Hopsplosion! Very, very dry and light mouthfeel. Light banana hints, wet hay, and smells a little of burlap. Finish is long, bitter, and pulls at the throat. Drys the mouth, readies for more.

Had this at the Eccentric Cafe and thought it was a pub one-off, but would love the chance to score some bottles.

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Photo of TheDudeRules
2.48/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured into my Founders snifter.

Bottle date is 08/11/2011.

Pours a fairly dark honey color. One full finger of off white head. Damn good retention. Lacing remains.

Smell. Citrus. Semi sweet. Alcohol. Lots of it. A two trick pony to my nose.

And for my least favorite part. The taste. Slight citrus up front. An incredibly strong malt backbone, that gets rather bitter. Chewy caramel gross garbage malt. Strong grain alcohol. Off putting is the understatement of my life. After that lack luster bitter sting on the finish of the sip the aftertaste sets in. Only way I can describe it is crushed aspirin. And it persists for minutes that seems like days.

What a truly awful beer. With some coaching from my wife I managed to finish my glass. These are going straight to extras. Sorry potential traders. How the hell this beer scored an A- is a modern marvel.

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Photo of bonsreeb85
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Extra special thanks to pochman for hooking me up with this unexpected present. May the beer gods smile upon you Ed.

The appearance is that of a slightly hazed tawny bod. with a nice looking creamy off white head.

Holy smokes! this aroma is amazing...boatloads of fruit, everything from berries to mangos and pinnapple. I sniff the slightest amount of booze too. to sum up: fruity w/ hops in abundance!

The hop's bitterness grabs hold and stangles the taste buds leaving a dry but fruit like after taste. the alcohol is a bit too much on finish. I expected more balance and sweetness after such a great nose.

The hops oils make this one a bit on the slippery side. big-ol'-body!

Too hot but better as it warms. I want to give this one another try, I was really dissapointed, perhaps my senses were off. I hope to revise this review if I can get my hands on more. Send me more someone!

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Photo of tjthresh
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours rusty orange with a rough and clingy white head. The nose make the think of dried powdered citrus fruits, a bucket of heavily diluted Pine Sol, and tree bark. Lots of big hoppy bitter flavors, but they are not as juicy as I think IIPAs typically are. The malt character is also like dry caramel. Bitter as all hell, for sure. Dry as an old chicken bone. This is a sipping beer for sure.

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Photo of Spica66
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Light amber with excellent head formation and retention. Lots of lacing.

S: Wonderful Centennial hops are the star of the show. The malt is there, but only in a supporting role.

T: Bready malt at first, then the hops take over in a huge way! This tastes like Two Hearted's giant brother!! Really citrusy and slightly piney. The only DIPA I have had that tasted more balanced is Pliny the Elder.

M: Full-bodied and very smooth and round. the alcohol warms the chest. You know you are drinking a big beer.

D: My hangover the next day was testament to the easy way these went down the hatch!

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Photo of timc100
4.61/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bright hazy golden orange with a beautiful dense, clinging, retention crazy head. The aroma is not incredibly pungent, but there are some great things going on - great example of no coast DIPA - astringent overripe pineapple, lemon zest, sharp orange citrus and a great malt backbone - sweet bready malts. Taste is huge! Very bitter and astringent. Coats the mouth completely - full bodied for the style and very smooth. Pungent overripe citrus and tropical fruits play off a sweat biscuit malt base. Fantastic midwest IPA!

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Photo of K-Dog
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Perfect golden cooper color with a rich fantastic aroma. Taste is about as good as it gets for an ipa. Hopslam and Oracle are at the game when it comes to dipas. There might be a few better but not many.

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Photo of kbeals
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- 12 oz. bottle decanted into a pint glass unveils a bright, exceptionally clear copper colored brew. Two fingers of eggshell white head sit atop leaving behind thick sheets of lacing. Good head retention.

S- A mixture of floral and citrusy hops. There's even *gasp* a hint of caramel malts. Very strange for a DIPA. It's actually quite well balanced, and the alcohol doesn't really show up either.

T- Very well balanced also. Good mix of citrusy hops and caramel and toffee malts. I'm not really sure if it's supposed tob e balanced though. This is actually the most malt-centric DIPA I've ever had.

M- Smooth, good carbonation, medium body. A bit oily.

D- Pretty good. Gladly, the alcohol doesn't really show up and makes it an easy drinker. I think HopSlam is a better DIPA from Bell's, but this one is good in it's own way.

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Photo of zoolzoo
3.57/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Deep shade of amber, golden accents. White head, gobs of sticky lacing. Looks quite a bit like a DIPA.

S: Mostly grains and a little alcohol. Fruity and piney hop notes linger below.

T: Hop profile is grassy and mostly piney, lacking citric brightness. Sugar coated everything, malts and grains are quite prominent. Alcohol presence is almost completly masked, impressive for an IPA tipping 10%.

M: Thick and chewy, fits the flavor profile well.

D: Not bad but abv and sweetness limits drinkability. Not my style of DIPA I suppose.

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Photo of NewGlarusFan
5/5  rDev +19.6%

Poured into a New Glarus Pilsner glass.

Two finger head, clear and a clover honey color. The beer is very juicy and creamy. Hop character is mild, citrusy, orange candies, honey, malt, toasted breads. Awesome beer grab one, it's similar to FFF Apocalypse Cow. It's like a DIPA ice cream that's melted in your glass.

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Photo of HopHunter19
3.77/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

7/2/2015 bottle - this was at one of my favorite local stores and I'm not sure why the distribution took so long with this one, having taken 2 1/2 months to get from Michigan to SW Missouri.

A - nice golden, clear beer, white fluffy head that leaves nice lacing
S - Clean hoppy smell, pine, grapefruit, orange peel
T - Again this beer has a very clean taste, with the hops being mostly piney and grapefruit flavors, with some light fruits in there
M - light-medium, alc covered, aftertaste is piney hops
O - I didn't get as much fruit character as some people who have reviewed this seem to be getting, but at 2 1/2 months out I'd expect that this isn't a completely fair review. I'm not sure why it took 2 1/2 months for a beer like this to make the 12 hour drive from MI to MO, but either way I gotta knock a few points off for the slow distro. I hope it doesn't take 3 months to transport HopSlam to MO this winter!

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Photo of Thur123
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew pours a fairly even split IMO between red and orange. Definitely not bright in color but rich and somewhat hazy, very little carbonation but enough to make like fresh. Very little stale white head that fades into a ring quickly. The smell is very aromatic, and very sweet. The dent no hop spice from this and all a kind of sugary sweet smell. A very light citrus is the lightest hop scent with juicy oranges standing out. A mellow but full piney smell is here too but resting under the fruitiness it seems. Honey, floral aroma.

Glug glug glug

Much more bitter in the initial hit than anything in the aroma would have you think. Smacks down with a bitter resinous punch before "mellowing" into a balance between the bitter and the sweet. Fruit rind comes to mind in a big with something very literally like flowers, maybe jasmine, working its way around too. The sweetness is big and heavy and comes through as an almost bitter honey flavor from the malt. The mouth feel is a little thick but not nearly as thick as many and the drinkability, for me at least, is pretty good for something this big and heavy. The flavor is well rounded and complex, without dominating (too much) with any one aspect of the beer. Overall a class act in its category and certainly a unique example even.

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Photo of ARoman
3.69/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. The aroma is a bright toffee, tropical, floral citrus blend with an undertones of light woody, alcohol, and burnt molasses; not too similar from a fresh barleywine. It pours a murky pale orange with a white, small suds, filmy head that has good retention and lace. It's highly bitter with a medium citrus sweet, but the bitterness dampens with warmth. The texture is chewy, sticky, and a bit syrupy with a fuzzy carbonation and a full body. The palate contains a strong grain character with a burnt quality as well as bitter citrus, wax, floral, and a strengthening caramel note late. The finish is initially crisp zippy with a bread crust quality although it loses this edge with warnth and turns smooth and syrupy. There's a resinous and waxy, cloying aftertaste with notes of bitter cough medicine and a strong bitter floral; overall it's aftertaste is prominent and lingering. This definitely qualifies as a west coast palate wrecker, and best served at cellar temp.

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Photo of jnn4v
4.17/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Hazy golden amber / orange color with a creamy, off-white / light orange head. Some sediment.

S: Thick, sticky malt scents mixed with sharp citrus, tropical fruits, and some acidity. Passion fruit, pineapple, and papaya. Honey / sugar water, copper, some yeastiness, and a hint of alcohol burn.

T: Very smooth malt, good above-average sweetness, followed by some dry bitterness in the 2nd half and the aftertaste. Much more bready and less fruity than I'd imagined it'd be. More in line with Ruination or Devil Dancer than Hopslam.

M: Very good texture. Nice and creamy at first. Almost perfect. Moderate carbonation, but above average viscosity.

D: The strength of the bitterness in the aftertaste balances out the increasingly cloying sweetness at the first half of each sip. Alcohol burn is relatively well masked. However, it's possible to grow weary of either the bitterness or the sweetness by the end of a bottle.

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Photo of dorianmarley
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is a very pretty; pure orange/brown amber. Head is smooth and never entirely fades; superb lacing.

Nose has tons of floral hops, with some malt and oak.

Taste has oaky hops, sweet-caramel malt, juicy fruit, and tart tangerine. None of the tinniness you may find in some double IPA's.

Mouthfeel is silky smooth, with medium carbonation. The hops do not add a "bite" as you would normally find, but instead create a consistent, vibratory acidity. All the flavors you expect, but no pucker.

Overall, this beer is a gem. Tons of flavor and a pleasure to drink. Likely the best Bell's I have tried.

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Photo of klikger
3.71/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle served in a Bruery tulip

A - Rich amber, cloudy, small white head, & great lacing

S - Honey and a hint of hops. I'm underwhelmed (and potentially broken-nosed).

T - Caramel, honey, and floral hops --> toffee --> barrage of hops shows up near the end: the finish is grapefruit bitter, and this is joined by more malty sweetness in the aftertaste.

M - Thick for a DIPA; gets syrupy as it warms, but not horrifically.

D - I could have another, which is good for a DIPA this strong and sweet.

Not nearly as good as HopSlam, but a quality midwestern DIPA nonetheless. Solid, but not spectacular.

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Photo of CooperEllis
3.91/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz into .3l tulip in from mistakebythelake today and, as he is feeling like the hops might already be fading, popped it at once.

Great color, nice clear, bright copper with a thin head.

I'm not smelling much off the top but sweet hops.

Very complex hopforward taste. There was a bit of bitter, but a lot of sweet, floral notes underneath. I could see where these tastes may be more pronounced, but I'm finding this 'age' is certainly enjoyable.

Evenly weighted, a bit of booze in the feel, and s slightly oily feel up front.

I'd drink it all day if it weren't 10% abv.

(73rd)

 585 characters

Photo of hippityhophead24
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Copper amber color with one finger head that goes away quickly. Very nice lacing in the glass.

Smell: Nice malt notes. Along with citrus hops. Slight pine and candied notes. Reminds me of Hopslam minus some sweetness.

Taste: Upfront pineapple and grapefruit. Finish is hot with sweet caramel malts and slight bitter hops. Nice lingering after taste.

Mouth feel: Nice carbonation. Coats the mouth. Not too thick.

Overall: Great DIPA. I think that I like this more than the hopslam…not sure though. I think I am going to have to do a side by side tasting to get to the bottom of it!

Glassware: 12oz bottle into snifter

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Photo of OmahaKF
4.09/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Smell is heavy pineapple, sweet malt, orange citrus, some onion, and as it slightly warms I pick up notes of lavender, honey, and orange blossom. Taste is pineapple and herbal tea, with some booziness. Bells definitely does a nice job with the double IPAs - the oily mouthfeel of this one reminded me of Hopslam, but slightly sweeter and less bitter.

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Photo of dukedevil0
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Huge thanks to lurchingbeast for grabbing me some of this on his trip to Bell's and for driving to meet me at my place for the trade! 12oz bottle from batch 9306.

A: Pours a golden yellow color with maybe a little orange tint. A one finger amount of white bubbles forms and settles down to a white rim and small film that laces a little on the way down.

S: Smells like lots of hoppy citrus, grapefruit and pine. There's also a good amount of candi sugar type sweet malt in the nose as well.

T: Very similar to the smell - the hops, citrus, grapefruit and pine are definitely destroying the sweet candi malt in the balance department. The hops and big bitter finish dominate the flavor.

M: Nicely carbonated with a good amount of bite from the bubbles. Very full bodied and palate coating, almost syrupy.

D: The flavor is great, but there is just a little too much bitterness in this for me. If that could be toned down - and I'm thinking maybe just sitting on a bottle for a month or two might do it and this would get bumped up significantly.

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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
93 out of 100 based on 728 ratings.
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