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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
618 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 618 | Ratings: 2,182
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.

 207 characters

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.

 399 characters

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.

 687 characters

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.

 257 characters

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!

 238 characters

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.

 176 characters

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.

 348 characters

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.

 361 characters

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!

 187 characters

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

Photo of Sparty21
4.5/5  rDev +26.4%
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

 254 characters

Photo of Kristie_Duve
3.99/5  rDev +12.1%
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.

 178 characters

Photo of SABERG
3.52/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

 445 characters

Photo of ajm5108
2.88/5  rDev -19.1%
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.

 380 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Bell's Oarsman from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
81 out of 100 based on 618 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.