I love it when my boy Wes goes to Michigan!! He always comes back with something tasty for me to enjoy and the last time he was home was no exception. Over the last year I have heard multiple people talk about The Oracle from Bell’s Brewery and how great it is. The other thing I have heard about The Oracle is that it is extremely difficult to find. Lucky for me, Wes has friends in northern Michigan who was able to get their hands on some and in turn, I get my hand on one. I’ll take one over none any day of the week. So let’s get the Oracle poured and ready…will this be a divine drink of revelation, let’s find out?
Bell’s Brewery classifies this brew as a Double India Pale Ale (DIPA) and their website describes The Oracle DIPA Ale as, “Our take on the West Coast-style Double India Pale Ale, The Oracle places hop intensity first & foremost, making only the slightest concession to malt & balance. The fireworks start with the floral aromatic punch of two separate dry-hop sessions with Amarillo and NZ Pacific Jade. Resinous, citrusy hop flavors mixed with aggressive bitterness from a massive kettle addition deliver on that aromatic promise.”
The Oracle DIPD Ale pours an orange/gold color with a 1 ½” head. The aroma is very grapefruit forward followed by some fruitiness, hop resin, malts and a faint alcohol smell in the background.
Upon my first sip my mind went straight to, this is Two Hearted on steroids. I love Two Hearted and The Oracle shares a lot of the same qualities. Between the two there is only a 3% spread in ABV and Two Hearted is an IPA whereas The Oracle is a Double/Imperial IPA. Yes, The Oracle tastes bigger and does a decent job of getting the resinous West Coast-Style down. The malt character compliments the hoppiness well and the flavor of the additional dry-hopping gives you a citrus taste that is highly enjoyable. Now here’s where I may piss a few people off, I’d take a Two Hearted over The Oracle any day of the week. Not only that, Hopslam is a far better DIPA than The Oracle. I guess I just don’t understand the hype, don’t get me wrong, it’s good but not as good as I thought it would be. When it comes to West Coast-Style IPAs, I use Russian River’s Pliny The Elder as my pinnacle to gauge all others and The Oracle just doesn’t quite cut it. It’s like comparing the original Star Wars Trilogy to the new one, it doesn’t add up. The Oracle, unlike Pliny The Elder, is still a Padawan in my book.
Consumed: New Belgium Globe Glass
Verdict: Buy a Twelve Pack