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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: 778 | Ratings: 2,678
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 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.


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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 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!!

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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 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 jt31914
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: One finger of head - hazy gold/amber color. The beer almost goes from light on the outside to amber in the center. Slightly darker for a form of an IPA - head disappeared quickly.

S: Very citrus type smell - specifically with orange. Also has a hint of hops.

T: Intense citrus/orange taste; it is hoppy as it goes down yet the aftertaste leaves orange in the mouth. The beer balances the citrus and bitterness phenomenally; the orange is the dominant flavor, but does not overtake the beer.

M: Bubbly and smooth. Very refreshing.

D: Highly drinkable - this smooth and refreshing beer is one I could easily down a six pack of.

The bitterness of this beer comes out as it warms, which only makes the whole drink better.

This beer is like Oberon on steroids!

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Photo of Nachojon
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Thick foamy head, lace coats glass throughout.

S- Smooth caramel. Some hops and lemon peel.

T- MADNESS. Almost medicinal, bandaid piney hops and warm booze with a brown sugar finish. Like no IPA i have ever tasted.

M- Sticky but not unpleasant. Smooth and dense at the same time.

O- I don't know if one pour does this thing justice, would love to try again.

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3.4/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked up this brew at a bottle shop in DC. It was in Dupont Circle with my cousin. Good times.

A: Hazy burnt/dark shade of orange. Decent white head with lots of oil stickiness lacing the glass. Looks good.

S: sweet and fruity grapefruit nose with a mild pine grass quality in the background.

T: hot... very powerful IPA. got a lot of booze burn right away. Not smooth. Starts nice with some sweet citrus flavors, then a significant dry grasslike finish with a good dose of burn. There is some sweet malt character in here too, right in the middle. Overall its really not smooth and has a harsh finish. Too sharp. Needs to be more balanced. The finish is all dry hop flavors and alcohol. It sits for a while soaking up your saliva.

M: full oil like with a super dry booze finish. very dry on the end.
feels smooth at first, then finishes very very dry.

O: Just not feeling this one, I guess if your shooting for a more abrasive dry big american IPA style then it would be understandable. But this is just does not have the complexity, balance, and mouth-feel that I think great DIPA's has. Its not really bad, just not enough balance for me. Maybe its just me.

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Photo of codewarrior
3.45/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz from a trade into a Chalice (Bottle says 9901)

Picked this up in a trade with 7ways. Utterly disappointing (he warned me ...).

A: Deep amber. A finger or so of head, dissipates quickly, little to no lacing.

S: Hoppy and sweet. But more sweet than hoppy. Lots of fruits in this. Unexpected for a DIPA.

T: Sweet up front, in the severe, then massive hops in the back. Pineapple notes, and caramel in the middle. Lingering bitterness.

F: Creamy, heavier than expected.

D: Ok. Disappointing from Bell's, especially for a style from which I expect so much.

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Photo of kirkpjr
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch #9901. Poured into a tulip.

A: Pours a slightly thin golden amber color. One finger of head with moderate lacing up and down the glass.

S: Juicy pineapple chunks off the bat. Tropical fruits with floral highlights. Citrus also present. If this is 4 months out I can't imagine how mouth watering this beer smells fresh.

T: Fresh pineapple, with a hefty grapefruit-esque bitterness on the tail. Biscuity malt backbone helps "balance" the beer, but the bitterness plays a clear role in the forefront. Citrus flavors and a little lemon zest in each sip. A great DIPA, but Hopslam still grabs my attention over this when it comes to Bell's DIPA's.

M: Sticky, resinous hops cover the palette. Medium body with a little syrupy feel. Moderate carbonation.

D: Wow. I didn't even realize until I looked up on the review page that I'm drinking a 10+%ABV beer. Goes down exceptionally well, with bitterness being the only deterrent (if that is such a thing).

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Photo of fields336
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

SN tulip, 8./10/12 date

A: golden, light amber, honey color with a huge collar or thick off white yellowish head on top. lacing is phenominal, carbonation looks great

S: grapefruit, citrus, tropical fruit, slight pine/floral, sweet malt backbone, with a touch of booziness in the background

T: sweet is my first impression then a huge wave of piney, grapefruit, citrus, peach, pineapple comes through and finishes on a nice balanced dry bitter/malty finish, the best of both flavors. touch of booziness but i expect it at 10%

M: not too thick, but still you can tell its a DIPA, the carbonation is spot on imo

O; not as good as hopslam, but still a delicious beer

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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 nandemo1
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear gold with a giant cascading white head, definitely 2+ fingers. Head settled out over time and left a lot of sticky lacing.

Smells heavily of piney hops with some sweet citrus notes. Taste is also very piney but not overly bitter. Alcohol is present me up as I get through the glass.

Feels medium bodied with decent carbonation. Very smooth but a little hot at times.

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Photo of TCHopCraver
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes on 9/8/10.

A: Pours a dark orange and gold, bordering on amber, into my snifter. A slight head vanishes immediately, leaving a spongy white film on top. The carbonation looks to be moving at a slow to medium pace. The lacing is thin and fine, like delicate handwriting with a quill and ink.

S: A load of citrus hops (mainly grapefruit) with a little bit of pine hop smell jump into my nose upfront, balanced by just enough of a caramel malt presence. I also smell a fair amount of dry biscuit and a little bit of coppery tap water.

T: Wow, that is dry, earthy hopticism. The citrus hop notes definitely shine through (although more orange than grapefruit), but this is definitely one of the drier hop profiles I have tasted in a DIPA. Like in the smell, the caramelized malts stand up to the hops, but only for a second in the middle of the sip. After that, the hops blow the face off of the malt. The aftertaste is almost the exact lasting flavor I have had on my tongue when I have eaten hops in the past.

M: Oracle is medium bodied, with a very puckering finish. The creaminess of the sweet malts graces my palate for a very short time before the bitter, earthy hops dry my palate and leave their flowery, alpha-acid goodness all over my tongue.

D: This guy is big and bitter, but that is a pleasant departure from a lot of other DIPAs that I have had. I definitely will consume more of this treat, but with some beers in between so that I can enjoy this beast anew.

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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.16 out of 5 based on 2,678 ratings.
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