Tuesday, September 7, 2010

410. Bell’s The Oracle DIPA

Another oddity and rarity from Bell’s; this was one of Belmont Party Supply’s special releases for Dayton Beer Week (I believe it was Friday). So I sat on it for a week or two. So sue me. This is also the beer that makes it a full baker’s dozen from Bell’s: we’ve tried Oarsman, Bourbon Barrel Hell Hath No Fury Ale, Batch 9000, Hopslam, Cherry Stout, Sparkling Ale, Winter White, Christmas Ale, Third Coast, Oberon, Octoberfest, and Two Hearted. I told you it wouldn’t take us long...

The Oracle pours a clear caramel copper with a light ivory head that leaves more lacing on the glass than one would initially suspect. The nose is very hoppy, with spicy, resin, pine, and evergreen dominating, and there is also some fruitiness buried in the back—primarily apple and pear—and some caramel malt. The apple and pear in the nose disappears rather quickly, leaving the hoppiness to run rampant. The Oracle opens with a dry caramel sweetness that is quickly overtaken by hop flavor, even in the front—spicy and resin hop flavors quickly come in on the caramel, and run into the bitterness of the middle. There is a fair amount of pine and evergreen hop flavor that comes out in the middle along with the bitterness, with both the spicy and resin flavors carrying over from the front and running on into the finish. The finish has a small amount of malt sweetness that re-emerges in the finish—more candy than caramel—that works well with the spicy bitterness that lingers on the palate. There is a bit of grassiness, but it works well overall with the beer—nothing distracting. The medium to heavy body easily hides the higher alcohol content—there is only a slight touch of warmth at the end, and even that could still be from the hops—while the carbonation is medium. Along with the hops, the carbonation helps dry out the beer and get it to finish smooth on the palate. The Oracle has a different hop profile than most Bell’s beers—spicier and with more resin and pine than either Hop Slam or Two Hearted. Nonetheless, an excellent and well-balanced beer that makes for smooth and easy drinking. Probably too easy, which is another way of saying this beer will bite you in the ass if you’re not careful. But damn good drinking.

From the bottle: “A double IPA that is sure to make you as all-knowing as Pythia. It’s just a matter of interpretation.”

From the Bell’s website: “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.”

ABV: 10.0%
OG: 1.088
Batch Number: 9901


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