The Oracle | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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786 Reviews
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The OracleThe Oracle
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States
bellsbeer.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
786
Ratings:
2,711
Avg:
4.16
pDev:
10.58%
 
 
Wants:
452
Gots:
414
For Trade:
7
User Reviews
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Reviews: 786 | Ratings: 2,711
Photo of timc100
4.61/5  rDev +10.8%
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 chaz410
3.17/5  rDev -23.8%
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 +12.3%
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 -40.4%
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 OldManMetal
3.48/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

This is a great-looking beer: a giant, pebbly ivory-colored head looms atop a clear, effervescent, deep-gold beer, leaving excellent lacing in the form of thick, sticky bands and sheets; the only visual downside is how rapidly the head dissipates. The nose is delicious and enticing; medium in intensity, it leads with pineapple juice, backed by ruby grapefruit and sweet florals, hints of darker florals and modest alcohol overtones. Up front, the palate is grassy, medium-bitter pineapple and more subtle cotton-candy florals; mid-palate the pineapple gets juicy, the grassiness becomes more pronounced, a spicy floral flavor emerges, and we get a good view of the bready malt foundation. At the same time, a too-astringent mouthfeel develops, and a darkish bitter/sweet solvent character defiles the low end of the flavor as the booze does its damndest to run the whole train off the tracks. The finish is a warming whallop of bittersweet booze, followed by the onset of a modest, boozy pine bitterness that lasts for awhile. Mouthfeel is commensurate with the medium body, and is unpleasantly astringent; the texture is medium-creamy and slightly peppery from the somewhat restrained carbonation. Too hot to be enjoyable. (12 oz bottle, 42 days after pkg)

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Photo of bonsreeb85
4.2/5  rDev +1%
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 OmahaKF
4.09/5  rDev -1.7%
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 tjthresh
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
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 +10.6%
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 kbeals
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
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 -14.2%
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 +20.2%

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 Thur123
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
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 spacebear09
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Appearance- Golden, well carbonated brew with a small head but good lacing

Smell- Cotton candy, pineapple

Taste- Massive grapefruit, lemon, mango, finishes very dry and slightly astringent. Cloying sweetness and a little pill bitterness. Biscuity malt profile that is barely detectable.

Mouthfeel- Crisp and tangy

Overall- Good but not my favorite.

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Photo of ARoman
3.69/5  rDev -11.3%
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 +8.2%
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 -10.8%
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%
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)

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Photo of hippityhophead24
5/5  rDev +20.2%
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 BSiegs
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Amber orange in color, very opaque. Two fingers of thick off white head. Retention and lacing are superb. The aroma is grapefruit, citrus, sweet malt. Slightly grassy and floral. Very pleasant smell, well balanced between hop and malt characteristics. The taste is citrus and grapefruit again, but with a bitter pith element as well. Big malt body stands up to the hops and adds a definite sweetness. Bitter and floral notes linger on the aftertaste. Full bodied, moderate carbonation, and a lasting bitter, balanced finish. Overall, this is a very well done, very big beer.

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Photo of dukedevil0
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
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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Photo of schwemjw
4.48/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: clear dark copper with a beautiful soapy rocky head. carbonation is abundant with fantastic lacing.

S: you can smell this beer from a mile off. travertine, nectar, apricot, and nectarine. fresh orange zest and white peach. very sweet and juicy.

T: tough caramel. tangerine and peach. bright citrus. slightly floral. very bitter exit. juicy with sight traces of alcohol.

M: extremely long bitter finish. light to medium mouth feel.

O: fantastic bitterness without being dry. full tropical fruit. so tastey!!
/93

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Photo of fear025
4.14/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma:I get some nice sweet malt in the aroma, and a little bit of grapefruity hops.

Appearance:Amber in color, nice white head, great retention.

Taste:On first sip, the hops in this beer hit me in the face hard! After a few more sips, I can start to differentiate some different flavors. I can taste some peach and nectarine in the hops, also a little pine. Some nice hope sweetness provides a good backbone to this one. The fruity flavors linger pleasantly on my tongue well into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel:This beer has a medium body, and some nice alcohol warmth. It's also kind of creamy.

Drinkability:Once you get past the initial hop bomb, this is a very enjoyable beer. It's hard not to compare this to HopSlam though, which I think is a little better.

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Photo of 11-52_4hops
3.79/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Hazy golden honey color, nice lacing. Light nose includes hints of honey, caramel, and malts. Heavy body taste, quite malty with strong bitter hop finish, and some alcohol. A hint of honey in there as well that reminds me a bit of Hopslam (but in my opinion not even close to Slam overall). Bitterness lingers in the back of the mouth for a long time. This isn't a bad beer by any means, but it just seems unremarkable to me for a limited release (and the accompanying per bottle price). Could be that a more pronounced malt taste just isn't my thing.

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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.16 out of 5 based on 2,711 ratings.
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