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

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622 Reviews
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Bell's OarsmanBell's Oarsman
BEER INFO

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
622
Ratings:
2,192
Avg:
3.56
pDev:
29.21%
 
 
Wants:
83
Gots:
319
For Trade:
2
User Reviews
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Reviews: 622 | Ratings: 2,192
Photo of Vixie
3.69/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a cloudy straw yellow color, looks like a lighter colored version of a wheat beer. There is a bit of a white head that dissipates fairly quickly. leaving a very thin layer of bubbles across the top.

Smell is tart and funky. Also can detect a hint of lemon and bread dough.

Sweet and sour is a good way to describe this one. The flavor is a bit on the citrus side, a bit like lemon and a sour orange. The sweet and sour balances well, so neither become overwhelming.

Feel is fairly smooth, with a little bite from the carbonation.

Tried this on tap at the brewery, and liked it enough to take a little home. Normally I avoid sour beers, but the restrained nature of the sour in this beer made it nicely drinkable. This would be a great beer on a summer day, goes down easy and nice and light, but a decent amount of flavor.

 832 characters

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.

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Photo of dbl_delta
3.52/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Undated can into pint glass. Pours a hazy pale gold with a thin off-white head. Initial impression is fruity tartness. Mouthfeel and carbonation are both on the light side. Finish is smooth and dry with a lingering tartness. Kind of one-dimensional, in my opinion. It's very sessionable, but I'm not sure I could take that much tartness in big doses.

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Photo of Samlover55
3.83/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into pint glass no date
L- hazy pale blonde, with thin head
S- sourdough would be the best way describe the tart aroma with doughy notes
T- sweet and sour, this beer starts off with ever so slight sweet malt which is immediately balanced by a well balanced tartness, and finishes sour as well
F- super drinkable, light-to-medium bodied, crisp carbonation
O- this is one heck of a "session beer", could easily see myself drinking two or three of these in a row, great job on the style as well. I'm a big fan!!

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

Pours a straw yellow color with white head. Wheat, spice, citrus, and some bread on the nose; follows onto the palate. Finishes with a surprising tart note, refreshing but unexpected with this style of beer.

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Photo of NolaHopHead
3.77/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz can. Pours clean straw gold with thick fizzy head that fades down to a lasting layer, almost no lacing. Tart fruity aroma. Lemony Berliner tartness, apple candy sweetness, with a crisp dry finish. Very light and crushable, tartness at the right level. Solid light Berliner, good summer brew.

 302 characters

Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.01/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel tulip.

Look: Sunburnt gold with a white head that recedes to a small circular patch in the center. Little or no lacing.

Aroma: Faint salt, wheat grains, subtle lemon.

Taste: Pops a little more than the aroma with great lemon presence, wheat, and grapefruit in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Light and dry.

Overall: Pretty nice example for the style. I like the lemon representation.

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Photo of Strike00
3.69/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

L: very light golden and hazy. White head dissipates quickly.
S: smells bright with a sour citrus/floral smell
T: nice sweet sour taste. nice yeasty flavor to it.
F: think and biting with carbonation.

O: not a bad Berliner Weiss at all.

 241 characters

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

I've seen two (count 'em) Berliner weissbiers in my life so it's hard for me to judge looks, but not surprisingly, given that this is from Bell's (easily in my top 5 favorite breweries), there's a nice head and sticky lacing to this brew. The smell is sour and tart, with sweeter hints of white vinegar. Tartness shines in the taste, with a body that makes this brew exceptionally drinkable. It's a wheat beer with a lemon-forward character. Unlike any brew I've ever imbibed, but if I had to compare it, I'd think back to my first saison (and only, though nothing against the style). Drink this.

 596 characters

Photo of Dragginballs76
3.52/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

 264 characters

Photo of GrumpyGas
3.22/5  rDev -9.6%
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.

 304 characters

Photo of larryi86
3.89/5  rDev +9.3%
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.

 376 characters

Photo of DaverCS
3.6/5  rDev +1.1%
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 +2.5%
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.

 529 characters

Photo of maltheaded
3/5  rDev -15.7%
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.

 279 characters

Photo of LaurenZ
3.92/5  rDev +10.1%
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 +16.9%
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.

 378 characters

Photo of hennin55
4.68/5  rDev +31.5%
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

 167 characters

Photo of stinewils24
3.47/5  rDev -2.5%
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 +15.2%
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 +13.2%
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 +19.9%
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 -1.7%
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 -19.1%
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.

 310 characters

Photo of Beers-es
3.64/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

 306 characters

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Bell's Oarsman from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.56 out of 5 based on 2,192 ratings.
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