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

613 Reviews
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Bell's OarsmanBell's Oarsman

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States | website

Style: Berliner Weissbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.00%

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."

Added by Thorpe429 on 04-12-2009

User Reviews
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Reviews: 613 | Ratings: 2,154
Photo of Dragginballs76
3.52/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour - golden yellow color decent white head so so lacing.

Smell - Tart little fruity and wheat some lemon as well.

Taste - Tart flavor, lemon zest, little bit of wheat.

Feel - Light body, higher carbonation, tart feel.

Overall - A good beer, great for summer.

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Photo of GrumpyGas
3.22/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz can pkgd 2/24/16 poured into a chilled pint glass.
Hazy yellow colored body with light and fleeting white head.
Aroma is citrus with some lactic. The flavor matches and adds some tart lemon. Mouthfeel is thin, almost oily, and the finish is dry.
A few of these in the golf course would be delicious.

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Photo of larryi86
3.89/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz can poured into a pint glass

A- A slightly hazy golden color with a three finger white head.

S- Some wheat, tart lemons, mild earth spice.

T- Wheat, some lemons, mild tartness, hint of lactic acid, touch of earthiness in the finish, slightly watery.

M- Smooth, light body.

O- A nice Berliner, easy to drink. Given the price and availability it is worth picking up.

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Photo of DaverCS
3.6/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy orange color with soda like carbonation and quickly dissolving head.

Aroma is slightly fruity, a solid amount of wheat, some malt sweetness, and a tad bit of an underlying tartness.

Taste is a bit watery and thin in carbonation, but still has a decent amount of flavor despite the ABV. Is it sour? No, not really; it has a nice wheat presence with some malt/honey-like sweetness and only a kiss of citrus in the finish. The "tartness" is more like a heavily diluted lemon juice.

Overall, light and refreshing. I get the appeal. I probably won't buy it again though. I see it pairing well with fresh watermelon dusted with chili powder, lime, and salt. It gets a 72/100.

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Photo of FBarber
3.65/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear effervescent golden color. One finger white head dissipates leaving no lacing or head.

Smell is lemony and tart. Wheat undertones shine through.

Taste has notes of lemon tartness up front. Wheat character follows that initial tartness with more lemon zest. Slightly watery finish.

Feel is tart, ever so slightly puckering. Medium carbonation provides a slight tingle on the tongue.

Overall a decent Berliner Weisse. Flavor is a bit muted especially on the finish, but the citrus and tartness is pretty nice.

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Photo of maltheaded
3/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

If I didn't know any better, I'd a thought this beer went sour from sitting on the shelf too long. It's a lttle light for me at 4% but pretty refreshing and might taste good on an 80 degree day, but not 50 and raining. It is what it is I guess, but not one of bells better beers.

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Photo of LaurenZ
3.92/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer would be great with light fare foods. It has a citrus and sour aroma and tastes like it too. The flavor is similar to a lemonade. It is tart and light with prominent lemon flavor. There is yeast present in the aftertaste. It is refreshing overall.

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Photo of Angela1956
4.16/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Light golden hue, with stark white foam and slightly bubbly. Citrus and sour aromas. To the taste for me, I tasted citrus notes and a little sour flavor. Refreshing and clean. Tingles on your tongue. Lemon note don't overpower the taste but add to the flavor. One sip makes you want to drink more. As a "sour" beer, I didn't find it too overwhelming like others that I've tried.

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Photo of hennin55
4.68/5  rDev +31.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: large fizzy head, light in color
Aroma: sour and citrus
Palate: little dry on the tongue, fizzy carbonation
Flavor: light, sweet but acidic, sour, and tart

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Photo of stinewils24
3.47/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer has a light yellow color to it, with a sour wheat ale scent. The taste is light, refreshing, and tart. The texture is palate-cleansing, tangy, and refreshing. Overall, I really enjoyed this beer--it has a great aftertaste too!

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Photo of daweidavid
4.1/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A very light wheat beer. Tellow body with small white head. The body tastes like some grassy, fruity, and toasted wheat in it. Also hint of tartness in the body and aftertaste.

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Photo of chrishiker1409
4.03/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Light yellow, hazy. Less than finger of white head.

S: Grassy, citrus ,lemon peel.

T: Tart, citrus.

F: Light bodied, ightly carbonated.

O: Less tart than many berliner weiss I've had, but it had more citrus hop taste. Really easy and smooth to put down. A great summer beer. I'm glad I finally tried it. It will be another go-to beer.

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Photo of defilli2
4.27/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This beer is very light colored, yellow and bright. It had a full aroma that made me believe it was going to be a sour beer. It tasted tart, but very refreshing. This is not as sour as I thought it would be. I can definitely pull citrus notes and small amount of hops from this. I would prefer this beer ice cold on a warm weathered day. Light but good flavors.

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Photo of tomakara
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer was a little bit tart, kind of had a sour taste to it and I would consider it a sour beer. It was light in color and had a refreshing taste, tasted a little bit citrusy as well!

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Photo of JustLikeMyDad
2.88/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured mine into a drinking glass of some beer variety.
Pours a foggy lemon like yellow with little foam head which lingers around the glass edge.

Smells of citrus and sourness.

Tastes like a lemon shandy, tart and very distinct lemon flavor.

Light carbonations, drinks very smooth, very crisp on a hot day.

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Photo of Beers-es
3.64/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a slightly hazy straw with a couple fingers of nice white foam. Smell is tart lemon, grassy wheat and some sour funk. Taste is mostly the lemony, wheaty flavorwith a touch of sour that adds some complexity. Feel is a bit watery. An enjoyable beer, very flavorful and kind of unique, esp at this ABV.

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Photo of Sparty21
4.5/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Cloudy with particles floating, pale yellow color with a small head
Aroma: very wheaty smell with crisp notes.
Taste: tastes very wheaty, reminds me of being on a lake.
Overall: Good beer, refreshing, can drink multiple due to the lower ABV

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Photo of Kristie_Duve
3.99/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light sour with clean, crips flavors. Slightly citrus, tangy and has a bright golden/honey hue. Refreshing with hints of lemon zest and easy on the palate compared to most sours.

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Photo of SABERG
3.52/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured form a bottle dated 10.05.15 into the modified tulip.
A - Clear, honey colored, little carbonation, and no cap.
S - 2 row malts, wheat, a hint of hop, a bit of stale biscuit with chalk.
T - Filed grains, toast, and little else.
M - Thin, the sour mash make for a refreshing feel, the lack of carbonation is a detractor.
O - I wonder if a re visit is needed, this was a tad disappointing, I will seek out another in the near future.

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Photo of ajm5108
2.88/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a light straw color with slight head. A pretty anonymous beer in both the aroma and the taste. Just a very faint tartness but the remainder is just a very non-descript wheat beer, very watered-down and bland. There aren't any off notes or anything "bad" but with so many breweries diving into this style and producing great berliners & goses Bell's needs to retool this one.

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Photo of hardysf
3.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

For style this is an excellent beer. Nice light color on the pour. Good carbonation. Aroma is of wheat and some tartness. Taste is light and refreshing. I pick up some wheat and some lemony zest, maybe a hint of salt. Like a light Gose. Super easy drinker. Will be bringing some of these golfing/canoeing for sure.

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Photo of Dravin
3.93/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Duvel tulip. Bottled on date of 12/10/15.

Look -- Pours a slightly hazy pale gold with a finger of white head that leaves nice lacing. The head dissipated inside of a minute.

Smell -- Lactic tartness, some sweetness and citrusy notes poking through.

Taste -- Nice light tartness, the wheat comes through and that hint of sweetness in the nose is back again to counterbalance the tartness. It's a subtle balance between tart and sweet and I think they did very well with it.

Feel -- Light and crisp body. It acidifies the mouth some but it doesn't linger and would be a perfect palate cleanser.

Overall -- A nice restrained tart beer. It doesn't have the acid battery pucker power of some other Berliner Weissbiers I've had but I'm perfectly happy about that. This would be a fantastic beer to be enjoying on a sunny summer patio with a plate of fries or even some sausage to get the whole tart vs. fatty thing going on.

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Photo of cyclonece09
3.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a pint glass from a bottle. Pours cloudy yellow orange with a tiny white head. Smells of sweet wheat and citrus, especially orange. Tastes of sweet wheaty grain but with a bit of a sour taste, but not overly lip puckering. Beer is light bodied, nicely carbonated, and easy drinking. Overall, a good beer, and a very nice beer to introduce sour tastes to those who have not acquired that taste.

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Photo of lwillitz
3.21/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12-oz bottle into New Belgium globe

A - 1-finger white head over a cloudy golden body, moderate visible carbonation

S - fruity, grapey tartness, quite faint

T - lemon, bread, light tartness, fruity notes (hints of apple/grape)

M - light body, high carbonation, refreshing

O - This would be refreshing as a summer beer, but overall I'm unimpressed.

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Photo of Act25
3.8/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Love the brewer, love this beer, the best of its class that I have tried.

A: Pours a hazy lemon with a modest egg white head shrinks and doesnt lace much.

S: I get fruity, grassy, lemony tartness.

T: My experience begins lemony balanced by white bread crust, and it's extremely refreshing.

F: Refreshing body with prickly carbonation that out punches its weight in satisfaction.

O: This is a must try. Original, great. Try 12.

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Bell's Oarsman from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
81 out of 100 based on 613 ratings.