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

Not Rated.
Bell's OarsmanBell's Oarsman

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,838 Ratings
no score

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Ratings: 1,838
Reviews: 549
rAvg: 3.5
pDev: 16.29%
Wants: 70
Gots: 149 | 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:
Beer added by: Thorpe429 on 04-12-2009

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,838 | Reviews: 549 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Texasfan549
3.25/5  rDev -7.1%

Photo of erikl48
4.25/5  rDev +21.4%

Photo of tjsdomer2
3.33/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Very pale golden. Pretty girl lacing. Carbonation is flat, but I think that makes sense given the acidity of this beer.

Smell: Smells like an aged cheese. Lots of bacterial/yeasty scents coming from this.

Taste/Mouthfeel: More bacterial flavors. Bleu cheese and orange peel are also very evident. I would like this more, but it's a bit to tart in the finish. Mouthfeel is clean overall.

Overall Drinkability: A very drinkable beer. Refreshing.

Photo of jcparish88
3/5  rDev -14.3%

Photo of dsauter
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of JJFordick
4/5  rDev +14.3%

Photo of Brad7132
3.25/5  rDev -7.1%

Photo of mvanaskie13
4.05/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I tried this on draft here in philly a few times this summer and was able to pick up a case about mid summer - still had a few left.

Poured into a pint glass, color is transparent gold, head is barely there, but my pour was slow and this brew has been in the fridge for months.

Smell is tart, tangy, fruity, mild wheat and pilsen malt notes.

Taste is light, but very flavorful, nice tart, sour slightly lactic flavor, mixed with mild wheat

Mouthfeel is great, light and balanced with solid carbonation backing up the lactic tartness

Overall, a very great take on this style - probably buy a case of this one every year.

Photo of ssjkyle
4/5  rDev +14.3%

Photo of chippo33
4.25/5  rDev +21.4%

Photo of Hugonaut13
4/5  rDev +14.3%

Photo of tmm313
3.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of TerryB
4/5  rDev +14.3%

Photo of danoble1
3.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of mrebeka
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of frankman71
4.75/5  rDev +35.7%

Photo of tmars13
2/5  rDev -42.9%

Photo of Tee2Grn
3.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of Thirstygoat
2.5/5  rDev -28.6%

Photo of kojevergas
3.67/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this one up at Ramirez Liquors in Los Angeles. I'm always glad to see increased distribution of a brewery with a reputation like Bell's, but I was really disappointed with Expedition Stout. I'm hoping this one changes my mind about Bell's. Bottled 09/07/12. Reviewed live. 4.0% ABV confirmed. 355ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a New Belgium stem-goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California.

Expectations are above average; I've only been disappointed by this brewery but I'm hoping that was a fluke. This style is very hit and miss, though - especially with American breweries. At least there's no candi sugar added post-brewing, so that's a leg up on some German examples of the style.

Served after a period of rest from the refrigerator and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger beige colour head of fair cream, decent thickness, and average (~2 minute) retention. Colour is a cloudy pale lemon yellow. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Nontransparent; largely opaque. Suits the style.

Sm: Lactic, even a bit acidic. Some funk; I certainly get the sour mash from the aroma. I'll risk pretention and call it horseblanket. Some lurking sweetness. I find the aroma a bit of a turnoff, actually. There's a lemon citrus ester in there that I like, but the rest seems off. Moderate in strength. Assertive.

T: A bit funky on the finish. Clean pale sour mash malts. Lemon citrus, though diluted. It's best on the finish, where the acidic lemon comes through for a crisp clear moment - a change from the murky build of the body. A bit tart, sure. Very clean throughout. No real yeast comes through. Quite lactic throughout; lactic notes are dominant. Balanced if simple. Actually one of the better examples of the style in recent memory.

Mf: Crisp, clean, smooth, light, and wet. A touch overcarbonated. Good thickness, supporting the flavours adequately. I'd stop short of refreshing, but it flirts with it.

Dr: Very drinkable. Low ABV. One of the better beers I've had in this style. I might try it on draught. A solid effort from Bell's. There's serious promise here.


Would suit an acidic salad magnificently. A good beer for food pairing in general.

Photo of Anonymous1
3.25/5  rDev -7.1%

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.33/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into an Allagash chalice.

Appearance - Pale yellow with a touch of haze. White head isn't too shabby. Looks like a Budweiser, though.

Smell - Grainy as hell. A ton of wheat. Pale malt. No hops to speak of. Not a very interesting aroma.

Taste - A fair bit better than the aroma, but it's still nearly water. A touch of lemon tang and buckets of wheat and grain. I don't get a lot of hops. Maybe part of that citric aroma is hops, but it's indiscernible to me.

Mouthfeel - Light, sprizty. Gulpable. Definitely on point with their description. Sessionable, if not very flavorful.

Overall - I think I've had this before, but I couldn't remember so I picked it up. I doubt I'd pick it up again, but if there were a cooler of this at a party I'd drink the hell out of it on a hot day.

Photo of Flyboyman
3.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of leprechaunandfatman
4.25/5  rDev +21.4%

Photo of dcbdc1
4/5  rDev +14.3%

Bell's Oarsman from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
80 out of 100 based on 1,838 ratings.