Oarsman Ale | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

2,254 Ratings
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Oarsman AleOarsman Ale

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

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

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,254 |  Reviews: 634
Photo of Tjvan2
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of Poppellian
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of lucasj82
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of TheBrewo
3.74/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

We pour a brew of crisp yellow straw coloring. It holds a one and a half finger head of tight white bubbles. This retains decently, leaving wisps of lacing around the glass. There is a mild haze to the clarity, but no sediment. Carbonation appears light. The aroma gives tart zing of pale grain, with lactics, lemony bite, chalky wheatiness, bright metallics, dried grassiness, and faintly sugary soured cherries. With warmth comes baking flour, acetaldehyde, and raw, tannic white grape skins. Our first impression is that flavoring is much lighter, sweeter, and refreshing than the nose suggests. As we sip, watered pale grain, sweaty saltines, zesty orange and lemon spritz, soured lactics, and mineral start things off. Moving to the peak is a mix of enhanced lemon rind bitterness, light bubblegum ester sweetness, dry and toasty pale malts, and juicy yeastiness. We finish with a light wheaty wash. This effectively cuts much of the prior tartness, helping us finish on a clean, albeit one-sided, note. The aftertaste breathes with sweat, green banana, wheat, lemon rind, chalk, and soured pale graininess. The body is light, and the carbonation is light to medium. The mouth is cooled with each sip, lightly coated, and crisply sucked dry at the base of the hard palate. Slurp, sip, froth, and cream and all lighter, but appropriately so. The abv is way easy, and drinkability is excellent.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this beer was its lightness and ease of drinkability. The aroma introduced a serious sourness and tartness, while the flavoring, via crisp grain and citric inclusions, smashed, smoothed, and blended things into a concise, easy final product. No one component ever became overwhelming, and the wheat stayed right where it needed to be to ensure the strength of the base. If we are being picky, the flavoring does ease up a bit too much at the end of the sip and, at times, can feel watered through. This, however, doesn’t change the fact that this is one clean, refreshing, and sessionable beer.

 2,031 characters

Photo of Mtooman
4.25/5  rDev +19.4%

Photo of TheBishopco
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of AmitC
3.96/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Color is straw pale. About one finger thick off white colored head with not enough retention. Recedes fast. Excellent lacing on the sides. Hazy and opaque. Calm with very few bubbles.

Aroma is definitely if a wheat beer. A good amount of tartness comes through in the nose. Some clove phenols. Very little banana. The initial sweetness gives way to sour tartness. Very dry smell. Wheat proteins and yeast do come through.

Taste is a lot like what aroma is all about. Dry finish. Tart. Slightly borderline sour. Some clove and spicy flavors. Wheat sweetness and the sourness probably from yeast seem to collide to give rise to a not so sour or sweet taste. Very light at 4%.

Mouth feel is light bodied. Low to moderate carbonation. Dry feel throughout. An easy drinking beer if you like sours/tarts.

Not for me. Once is enough.

 878 characters

Photo of Daktah
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of dougbassett
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of bhunt201
3/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of jplopez21
3.25/5  rDev -8.7%

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

Photo of Jamison85
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.14/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

12oz. bottle served in a Westvleteren 12 chalice. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a .5 finger foamy white head that dissipates quickly. Beer is a clear pale lemon yellow. Lacing is non-existent. Not much going on here.

Nose is a very light tartness mixed with some foaminess. Malty aroma lingers in the background. Moderately aromatic. I'd like this to be a bit more tart and a touch more funky.

Opens lightly tart lemon. Slight acidity with some lemon rind and a crisp, light malt body in the back. Ends wheaty with a slight pucker right at the finish. Aftertaste is sweet and tart. Again, like the nose, not much going on here.

Light bodied with ample carbonation. Light and spritzy in the mouth and crisp and refreshing going down. Accented finish with a rather clean aftertaste. Nice.

Not a bad beer but I expect more from a world-class brewery like Bells. There's just not much going on here as if Oarsman is made to have syrup added to it. There's more interesting beers in the style though this is still worth trying.

 1,030 characters

Photo of bmoney
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of Nyskizy
4/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of trevorpost
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of bdonley5
4/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of Localdrinklax
3/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of HazardousBrewer
3.25/5  rDev -8.7%

Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of TheSSG
3.85/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a HUGE, soft, white head that fizzes very loudly as it slowly collapses to form a nice layer across the top. Yeasty goodness and soft wheat in the nose with a touch of tartness. Turbidity gives it the color of light straw. Starts sour and bright, with no real hop presence. A slight flash of metallic as it transitions into a smooth, nice malt finish. Finish is nice, malt, a little yeasty.

Overall, I like this. Is it the best Berliner Weisse, ever? No.
Is it the best session, ever? Maybe.
Clocking in at 4.0% ABV, this is WONDERFUL for drinking. The mouthfeel is fantastic effervescent and light enough to pair well with the tartness. The low ABV keeps this one being REFRESHING! It's my easy-to-get fix for my Berliner cravings!

 739 characters

Photo of estlinska
3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle to a standard shaker, May 2012. Pours a pale, hay colored yellow with a little haze to it. Very thin head, but very active bubbles rushing up from the bottom. Smells heavy of yeast and fresh bread with a cutting smell of acid and lemon rind as well. The taste and mouthfeel was very clean, like a standard lager but with good body and obvious wheat sweetness to it. It did get a little cloying after a little bit and almost tasted like a lemon jolly rancher. The ABV says sessionable, but it was just a little too sweet to me.

 549 characters

Photo of capnamerica
3.25/5  rDev -8.7%

Photo of Falcone
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Oarsman Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.56 out of 5 based on 2,254 ratings.
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