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Bell's Oarsman - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Bell's OarsmanBell's Oarsman

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
80
good

1,795 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,795
Reviews: 543
rAvg: 3.51
pDev: 16.24%
Wants: 69
Gots: 135 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Berliner Weissbier |  4.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Sour mash wheat ale.

"Designed as a flavorful session beer, Oarsman Ale uses a classic German brewing technique to impart a light, refreshing tartness. Oarsman Ale grew out of a desire to explore the tradition of session beers, trading intensity for finesse while still creating a worthwhile experience for the taster. The grain bill includes a healthy portion of wheat, while light hopping lend citrus & herbal notes to the aroma. Fermented with Bell's house ale yeast, Oarsman comes in at 4.0% alcohol by volume. Rather than being the dominant flavor note, the tartness in Oarsman takes on more of a palate-cleansing role, making it perfect with meals or purely on its own."

(Beer added by: Thorpe429 on 04-12-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,795 | Reviews: 543 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Avagadro:
Photo of Avagadro
4/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pilsner-colored brew delivers moderate lacing, slight haze, and little head retention.

S: Bouquet is quiet. An unsettling observation, given that most wild ales warn you about the funk before your nose even hits the glass. Nonetheless, notes of granny smith apples are somewhat noticeable.

T: Imagine Bell's Lager with a gentle sour mash. It isn't over the top by any stretch. A pilsner malt base is accented by Sauvignon Blanc tartness, as well as some Viognier floral notes. Not the most flavorful wild ale out there, but definitely the most sessionable.

M: Light, effervescent, and clean.

D: Not a white-whale by any stretch, but definitely a refreshing brew with a slight twang. As noted above, I could go through many of these in one sitting.

Avagadro, Dec 21, 2010
More User Reviews:
Photo of Phocion
3.79/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle with a bottled on date of June, 2014. Poured into a weizen glass a hazy straw color with a finger of white head. Head lasts about 3 minutes then falls leaving thin and not particularly sticky lacing, not surprising given the high acidity.

Aroma is primarily a very grainy wheaty scent along with sharp, spicy phenols. Zesty, lemony citrus hops and a subtle hint of fruity esters.

Sharply acidic lacto flavors combine with a zesty lemony hop bitterness. Very wheaty with a touch of floral hoppiness. Apple-like esters.

Sharp, clean, crisp mouthfeel. Acidic and highly carbonated with a light body.

Overall, this is a decent beer. Rated to style, its ABV and hoppiness is too high for a Berliner Weisse, and it's missing the big, fruity, banana-like esters of an American Pale Wheat or a Hefeweizen. Wherever it lies stylistically, it's drinkable but far from exceptional.

Phocion, Jul 18, 2014
Photo of DanGeo
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%

DanGeo, Aug 30, 2014
Photo of tectactoe
3.71/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Had this many times from the bottle and a few times on tap at random bars and even at a Detroit Tigers game. It pours a cloudy and murky color somewhere between straw and yellow, bright and very light looking. The fizzy white head doesn't last for very long as it airs away and leaves only a ring behind.

The aroma is pretty light, but that's kind of what the style is all about. Some mild grains, faint apple tartness, subtle lemon zest, some wet hay, and a touch of must that might just be from the hops. It smells refreshing, with a nice mashup of fruit, zest, and dirty cellar musk that's topped off with just a touch of seeming tartness. Nothing mind-blowing, but it does what it's supposed to do.

Oarsman tastes pretty close to the way it smells - a nice helping of apple and grape skins hit first with a mild touch of tartness that hits quick and fades quickly, too. There's a solid light grain and pale malt backdrop upon which the mild tartness plays. Lemon zest and some more very faint must and yeast follows up in the finish. Very quenching and refreshing with a thin and wet body and a crisp, snappy mouth feel.

This isn't some big-time, heavy barrel aged, super rare and expensive beer. It's a mild Berliner Weisse(-ish) that delivers what you'd expect it to deliver. Very refreshing to drink one of these after mowing the lawn on a hot summer day. More quenching than a cup of iced tea or lemonade. A good beer to keep stocked for the hot season, no doubt.

tectactoe, Jul 07, 2012
Photo of t2grogan
3/5  rDev -14.5%

t2grogan, Oct 05, 2014
Photo of jono0101
4.5/5  rDev +28.2%

jono0101, Jun 19, 2013
Photo of NathanBunn20
4.25/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

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NathanBunn20, Jun 30, 2014
Photo of DaftPatrick
4/5  rDev +14%

DaftPatrick, Mar 14, 2014
Photo of heddar33
3/5  rDev -14.5%

heddar33, Sep 09, 2012
Photo of warnerry
3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a hazy straw color with 2 fingers of quickly dissipating head.

S - A bit of wheat and funk; also some lemon and tart sourness. A bit underwhelming.

T - A nice initial tartness gives way to wheat and then...nothing; disappears completely off the tongue.

M - Very light, though it has a nice crisp finish.

D - Drinkable, but not particularly desirable.

warnerry, Feb 08, 2011
Photo of dgfool
3/5  rDev -14.5%

dgfool, Sep 13, 2013
Photo of Twifiter
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%

Twifiter, Oct 15, 2012
Photo of Fcip78
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I must confess that Berliner Weisse beers are not some of my favorites.

It poured a hazy off-white light yellow with a nice off-white head. Plenety of sour notes with each sip, but it was not too overwhelming. Nice use of hops and some crisp and dry malt backbone with each sip. This is nice intro to the style, I must admit. Overall, it is a very "clean", tart and sour and crisp wheat beer, but not for novice beer drinkers.

Fcip78, Mar 08, 2012
Photo of Guden
3.25/5  rDev -7.4%

Guden, Jun 13, 2014
Photo of BuckeyeSlim
4.03/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a New Belgium snifter.

A - 1-finger eggshell white puffy foam head that took about a minute to dissolve. Lemon yellow and hazy.

S - Sour milk, baby powder, citric acid, hints of light malt and subtle spices like clove.

T - Sour lemon, moist sourdough bread, very mild pepper. Minimal hopping. Tart and wheaty at the same time.

M - Crisp and fizzy. Good carbonation and great structure. Clean. Suggests a desire to pucker as the tartness lingers well past the finish.

D - Delicious warm-weather beer. More substantial than just dropping a lemon in a hefe. Could easily enjoy several of these in an afternoon of puttering or just hanging out. The sourness might eventually become cloying, but it would be worth finding out.

BuckeyeSlim, Nov 26, 2010
Photo of Billolick
3.64/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

The good news is that Bell's fine beers are now being distributed to NY State.

"PKGD on 10/08/13" So its fresh, but is that a good thing or not? Not sure with this style....

My local bottle shop had four options, this was the one I had not tried, so I picked up a sixpack....Berliner Weiss...hmmm not my favorite style, but I do like sour/wild beers so lets give it a try....

Pours lightly hazed dull golden amber, off white head slowly fades to a thicker film and collar film and then some low sheeting, but nothing too exciting to the look of this one.

lemony nose is the harbinger of the sour to come...

More lemons on the palate, moderate puckering sour/tartness. Bright and fairly refreshing. Also wheat, hay, and a gentle eartyness come to mind. Still not my favorite style....But I could see enjoying another bottle of this on a warm summer day with some some cheese, bread and salad.

Billolick, Oct 21, 2013
Photo of eric_berge
2.75/5  rDev -21.7%

eric_berge, Mar 08, 2012
Photo of codysjb
4.06/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a glass.
A: pours a cloudy straw yellow with a head that dissipates instantly. Lots of carbonation.
S: lemon, grapefruit and some minor farmhouse zest combine with a musty sour smell. Nice!
T: minor lemon notes become musty and develop into a nice farmhouse style with slight sourness.
M: watery with minor sour notes.
O: really good, not my favorite style but a nice example.

codysjb, Feb 02, 2013
Photo of tigg924
3.78/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: minimal head, orange-brown in color, cloudy, moderate carbonation

Smell: sou mix and a hint of grain--not very strong a smell

Taste: honey, grain, wheat, and light sour mix that is present throughout

Mouthfeel: medium carbonation, light bodied, sweet with tartness that is present throughout and really picks up at the end, prickly

Overall: Another excellent beer after a long day of hiking. Not as good as the German counterparts I have had, but certainly a beer I could do a six of. Wish the smell was a bit stronger here.

tigg924, Aug 13, 2012
Photo of Mora2000
3.48/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a hazy yellow color with a white head. The aroma is full of grain and some wheat, but not too much of the tartness I expected. That changes a little bit in the flavor. I get a lot of wheat, with a very light amount of tartness and some grain. Thin, watery mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Decent, but not really what I was expecting.

Mora2000, Jun 03, 2012
Photo of Skye1024
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%

Skye1024, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of fenlop54
3.25/5  rDev -7.4%

fenlop54, Oct 29, 2014
Photo of ryancl
3.75/5  rDev +6.8%

ryancl, Sep 23, 2012
Photo of sm0key
3/5  rDev -14.5%

sm0key, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of JC333
3.25/5  rDev -7.4%

JC333, Apr 20, 2014
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Bell's Oarsman from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
80 out of 100 based on 1,795 ratings.