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

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Bell's OarsmanBell's Oarsman

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1,820 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,820
Reviews: 546
rAvg: 3.51
pDev: 16.24%
Wants: 68
Gots: 141 | 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: 1,820 | Reviews: 546 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NCbeerpirate
4/5  rDev +14%

Photo of SrMonkey
4/5  rDev +14%

Photo of UncleJimbo
4/5  rDev +14%

Photo of lpotter
5/5  rDev +42.5%

Photo of sbricker
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%

Photo of freduardo
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%

Photo of dnh2
3/5  rDev -14.5%

Photo of SourNotes
4/5  rDev +14%

Photo of thebouch01
4.25/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of tbeq00
3/5  rDev -14.5%

Photo of cratez
3.8/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased at International Beverage in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Pours a pale golden/straw with one finger of bright white head and globs of lacing on the tulip.

Smell is wheat, lemon juice, funky yeast, must, faint sulphur and basil notes, bread dough, and grainy malts.

Flavour is juicy and lemony tartness, a little sour and lactic, mild grainy-wheaty malts precede a fleeting aftertaste. Basic but enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is lighter than medium-bodied with a quick finish. A clean and refreshing session ale.

Overall, Bell's Oarsman is a straightforward palate-cleansing drinker with a welcomed sour twist on the wheat ale style. I could easily pack this back over an afternoon. Recommended.

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.28/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a Pint glass.
Batch: 10634 Bottled: 8.22.2011 (My Birthday!)

A - Pours a very light, slightly hazy yeloow with a thin white head that is gone fast.

S - Lemony fresh, wheat, and some light barley. Very Pilsner-like.

T - Lots of tart lemon, some light wheat.

D - Light and fizzy.

O - Refreshing, light and easy.

Photo of harrymel
3.6/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 19SEP11

A: diaphanous, golden with a transient sheet of white foam leaves a scattered surface. No lace.
S: Grain, hints of grass, mushroom, soil and a wee bit of sweetness.
T: Grain, corn, hint of lacto. Easy to drink.
M: thin with moderately hi carb. Semi dry finish.
O: Nice beer. Would like a little more tart in here.

Photo of Shibbykaiyai
3.95/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Normally, this is not my usual type of beer, but my friend offered it to me and I had never tried it and gave it a whirl. Who knew that I would have to travel away from KZoo and Michigan to actually find a damn good beer I could have just bought at home.

Other reviewers have stated that it kinda looks like iced tea when poured and I would agree. There is a nice hit of fruit (I like the pallet to determine which one) and it goes down nicely. And the lack of a strong alcohol kick at the end gives it a nice "summery" feel to it.

Highly recommend...

Photo of osusullins
2.78/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I like this brewery, however this is not my favorite.

Pours a light golden color with not much head.

Nose is funky, almost saisonish. Earth tones, some hay/straw.

Taste is tart up front, but not overpowering. Very light bodied. Not much going on outside of the tartness. I think if you like sours, or are thinking about getting into sours that this would be a good beer for you. Not my cup of tea though.

Photo of tdm168
3.88/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pale yellow with loose, fizzy head that quickly fades. The nose has notes of grass, straw, earthy hops, and faint yeast. The taste is tart, sour, juicy, and fruity with notes of white grapes and apples. The mouthfeel is light, smooth, and mildly carbonated.

Tart and juice-like, it's a little sweet, but overall it's an easy drinker. The low ABV helps out, too.

Photo of MsRif
3.45/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had a bottle from Pinocchio's in Media, PA. Poured a light yellow color with a lot of haze to it. Nice white head that mostly receded and left some, but not much, lacing. Aroma is that of citrus, yeast and earthiness. Slightly hoppy. Taste is slighty bitter with citrus, funky/earthy tones and bread. Citrus comes through strong and helps the beer finish clean.

Light bodied with good carbonation. I enjoyed this brew well enough, but it wasn't great and I probably would not have it again.

Photo of damndirtyape
3.75/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Shaker pint glass. Bottled on 8/22/11, batch 10634.

Appearance: Slightly hazy golden yellow with plenty of carbonation coming up through the beer. Poured slowly to keep most of the sediment in the bottle. Just a ring of white foam at the edge, and what lacing would form would slide back down the glass.

Smell: Wheat malt, grainy. Reminded me a bit of a US wheat beer. When first poured and cold though - smelled sweeter and had some floral hop smells to it as well.

Taste: Tangy and sour. Clean malt taste in the middle. Some lingering tartness at the end, but then is clears and is gone for a clean finish. Quite nice. As with the comment about it being different in smell when cold and first poured - same for the flavor. Sweeter up front and the tangy/sour is more muted when first poured and cold. I think I prefer it a bit more sour, but, the fridge cold flavor was good as well - just didn't last very long.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation that cleanses the palate, almost effervescent, but not fizzy. Towards the end of the beer as the carbonation died down I could get more of the liquid mouthfeel, which was definitely thicker than water, but not by a lot.

Overall / Drinkability: Very drinkable - could easily have another without thinking about it. Went very well with pepperoni and green pepper pizza - the carbonation cleared the palate every time and the sourness didn't clash. Overall, a nice beer. Definitely worth trying again someday...I wonder how it would be as a summer beer.

Photo of lisomiso
3.75/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Bell's.

Great session beer. Subtle, understated, and insanely refreshing and drinkable. Not the best looking beer, and it is maybe a touch overcarbonated, but that doesn't bother me much and boy could I drink a lot of it. Maybe my favorite American Berliner weisse.

Photo of oline73
2.5/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a slightly cloudy golden color with a finger of white head. The head fades quickly to a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Light malt and a slight tartness. Smells good, but here is where I started to worry about how much flavor was going to be in this one.

Taste: This beer has a very light flavor. It might be good with the amount of the flavor, but there needs to be a lot more tartness. This is a pretty boring beer.

Mouthfeel: Light body with sharp carbonation and a slightly dry finish.

Overall: I've been into some Berliner Weissbiers of late and have had a few good ones. This is not one of them. Too plain, I wouldn't have another.

Photo of falloutsnow
3.38/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased from Piccadilly in Champaign, IL.
Poured into a standard US pint glass.

Pours a 1cm head of off-white bubbles, medium in size, collapses to nothing within 30 seconds. No lacing. Beer is a cloudy yellow, like a macro lager with yeast. Lots of visible carbonation keeps popping up at the top of the body. Fairly typical looking.

Aroma opens with fairly bland wheat malt scents; inhaling deeper leads to something like the odor of tart fruit loops cereal. Closes with a warm-yogurt-like bacterial funk. Decent for the style, but nothing terribly impressive. The lack of citrus or acidic depth is a bit of a disappointment for this local/domestic Berliner Weiss.

Taste opens with sour wheat malt flavors, slight nod to citric acid. Finishes with a wash of citric tartness and acidity, gradually fading to a sweet grain or wheat taste. Aftertaste is fairly bland, consisting of sugary wheat malt with a slight tartness, again bringing to mind that comparison to fruit loops in a soured milk base.

Medium-light body with mildly prickly carbonation. Body in line with the ethanol level and carbonation. Finish is dry and slightly sticky or syrupy.

This is an acceptable domestic Berlinerweisse. Considering the imported versions are roughly $3 per bottle, this is more than an acceptable substitute. It hits all the right notes, if a bit softly. If produced again, a definite summer staple for us wheat beer and sour enjoying types.

Photo of mralphabet
3.93/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Poured a hazy straw color. Good 2 fingers worth of head that settles to a nice layer and ring... little to no lacing to speak of.

S: Yeasty and lemon peel, very tart smelling.

T: The tartness is very strong with this one.... Very lemony and yeasty... no hop bitterness and very little malt... Just very tart, but oddly... good. Finish is very clean.

M: Light bodied with very lively carbonation.. little fizz in the mouth.

O: This one maybe to tart and lemony for some but I found this one enjoyable... and with a low ABV you could down a few of these. Good session beer!

Photo of mattboyer182
2.98/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - light gold and completely see through. No head to speak of.

S - I smell light malts and a skunk scent.

T - a nice tartness initially. I can taste peaches in it. But there's that skunk flavor ruins it.

M - light bodied and medium carbonation.

O - it would be a good summer beer if it wasn't skunk. Maybe it was just a bad bottle

Photo of xnicknj
3.85/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

on tap at khyber in philly

Pours a clouded straw yellow color with some golden hues. A layer of bubbled white head slowly fades, leaving plenty of patchy lacing on the glass.

Stiff tartness in the nose with wheat and straw. Some lemon peel and slight acidity with fruit sweetness.

Tart and bright up front with plenty of citric tones. Lemon and orange peel with some light sweetness. A little acidic, but not really sour, just enough to tingle on the tongue. Some straw and wheat notes in the malt. Finishes dry and refreshing.

Thinner medium body, higher carbonation, tingly and invigorating on the palate. Incredibly refreshing and tart on the palate, I could easily drink 2 or 3 of these in a row.

Photo of MattyG85
3.85/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

Appearance: Very cloudy golden yellow with lots of rising bubbles. Big five finger white head that fizzes down to a thinner layer fairly quick. Lacing is light.

Smell: Aroma of wheat and yeast with lots of tart lemon citrus. Some hints of herbal hops. Mostly tart and sweet lemons in the smell. Also a bit of a sour smell.

Taste: Starts with a burst of tart and sour lemon fruit. A solid presence of wheat grains, yeast, and pale malts follow. Finishes somewhat bready from the malts. Tartness is fairly strong but not overbearing.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied with a medium to high level of carbonation. Crisp and slightly watery.

Overall: A pretty solid light bodied lemon forward beer. Pretty flavorful.

Bell's Oarsman from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
80 out of 100 based on 1,820 ratings.