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

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BA SCORE
81
good
625 Reviews
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Bell's OarsmanBell's Oarsman
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States
bellsbeer.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
625
Ratings:
2,210
Avg:
3.56
pDev:
29.21%
 
 
Wants:
83
Gots:
327
For Trade:
2
User Reviews
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Reviews: 625 | Ratings: 2,210
Reviews by Maxwell:
Photo of Maxwell
3.79/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The beer pours a spritzy golden orange with a small, egg shell white head of tight bubbles that quickly fizzles into a rim on the glass. The beer’s body is misty but clear of particles, and chock full of a torrential river of carbonation bubbles that are constantly racing up the glass. For lacing, the beer leaves small slippery strings that do not stay on the glass long. On the nose, the beer smells deeply of cereal wheat, almost like a meaty wheat flake. There is the faintest hint of tartness in the beginning of the nose, but that is quickly eaten up by the thick bready caramel wheat smell that makes me think this beer is heavier than it is. On the tongue, the beer tastes lightly acidic with a nice sweet wheat malt roundness to the taste. In flavor, the beer begins as tart, almost citric acid that washes quickly over the tongue and is replaced by light chewy lemon wheat bread (without the acid) and a touch of citric orange. The finish is of light lemon and orange water, mixed in with a touch of sweet wheat malts. As the beer warms, a wheat flake flavor does enter the beer throughout the taste. The aftertaste is light and tingly, similar to how the mouth feels after a light tea, or flavored water. In the mouth, the beer feels a step above light in body, with a strong prickly carbonation that never grows out of control and helps to punctuate the flavor notes on the palate. The mouth is left fairly clean, with only the faintest feeling of carbonation burn and a touch of sticky malt candy covering the mouth. Overall this beer is nice, and could definitely be a great all day beer. Its light spritziness makes it refreshing and interesting, but I kind of wish there was more tartness to this beer. It’s simple and nice, but it doesn’t blow me away, and it really just leaves me desiring a fuller flavor. A great session beer for sure, if you want something light, but you can find more flavorful beers for the ABV level.

 1,948 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.96/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this from a twelve ounce bottle into a beer can-shaped glass. It has a pale golden or straw-colored body and a pale white head. The head is fluffy, a finger-thick, and persists well before settling into a quarter-inch layer of lace.

Call me crazy, but I always seem to get a bit of salt from Berliner Weisses on the aroma. That's what I seem to be getting here, along with some champagne-like dryness, tartness, and wheat. It's slightly citrusy too.

Taste is a tad lemony, wheaty, and there's even something fruity and berry-like. I still get something slightly salty. I like it. Not quite gose-like, but sometimes I find these two styles hard to differentiate.

This beer is incredibly light and easy-drinking. I almost thought it was watered-down, but a number of sensations dispelled me of that notion. The carbonation is light and there's really something sort of champagne- or wine-like abut this. It's dry and fruity.

I guess some people just don't understand this type of beer. It achieves everything I'd want in a summer beer: light, drinkable, yet still offering a number of diverse flavors. It's damn goodd and don't let anyone tell you different.

 1,170 characters

Photo of SometimesIfart
2.99/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Bells Oarsman.

Bought this mostly as a palate washer for a nigh of big brews. Bells usually does me pretty solid. Blahblahblah let's skip the bollocks and get to drinking.

Look - Pours a very murked deep shade of yellowish golden with a two finger head that quickly runs away faster than an armed robber from the cops. Carbonation appears to be moderate with this one as expected . Lacing just isn't there to be noted. 3.5.

Smell - I don't really get it. What's the difference between a Berliner Weissbier and an adjunct? The cloves and fruits of course!. Bit of banana, bit of cloves, and a bit of adjunct. Still not impressive. 3.25.

Taste - High levels of indistinguishable fruits on this taste, with a heavily corny finish. I really have nothing else to say here. Ain't bad. 3

Feel - Body is as heavy as your ex wives ass in bed with a huge dose of carbonation. Really does not fit the supposed light nature of the beer.. 2.

Overall - I must not have gotten the memo on this one, nor the joke. So the Germans have basically taken an AAL, Upped the flavor a bit, and added a ridiculous body to catch it? Hmm. Well, it certainly isn't close to the worst thing I've ever had, but I don't see why you should be punished with such heaviness body wise for such a low ABV beer. 3.

This is really what those obese lonely sixty year old men drink in their moms basement around their toy train collection as they feel a quarter Deutsch for the night? For shame. Look if you want a good German style beer, Get GLBC Oktoberfest or North Peak Dauntless Oktoberfest. Trust me guys.

 1,579 characters

Photo of Phocion
3.79/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

 891 characters

Photo of oldbizmark
4.6/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

another great beer from the guy's at bell's. beautifully balanced easy drinking sour. if i had one complaint, i would say that it the flavor doesn't last. just drink and taste and then gone. not a bad thing especially when coupled with food. just seems a but thin.

 269 characters

Photo of DanGeo
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of tectactoe
3.7/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

 1,475 characters

Photo of t2grogan
3/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of jono0101
4.5/5  rDev +26.4%

Photo of sicilian
3.61/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of SD-Alefan
4.1/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, bordering on cloudy, straw with a voluminous, foamy white head.
Aroma is mainly a lemony funk with a touch of vinegar and hay.
Taste is tart and funky, wheaty, juicy and soft.
Mouthfeel is medium, smooth and almost creamy.
Refreshing.

 249 characters

Photo of DaftPatrick
4/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of heddar33
3/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of warnerry
2.98/5  rDev -16.3%
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.

 364 characters

Photo of dgfool
3/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of Twifiter
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of Guden
3.25/5  rDev -8.7%

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

Photo of BuckeyeSlim
4.02/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

 752 characters

Photo of Adam7m
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Billolick
3.63/5  rDev +2%
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.

 896 characters

Photo of eric_berge
2.75/5  rDev -22.8%

Photo of codysjb
4.06/5  rDev +14%
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.

 402 characters

Photo of tigg924
3.73/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

 540 characters

Photo of TrudiiSchu
4.3/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Mildly sour but not heavy. Love it.

35 characters

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Bell's Oarsman from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.56 out of 5 based on 2,210 ratings.
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