Oarsman Ale | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

2,270 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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Ratings: 2,270 |  Reviews: 638
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 ckk527
3/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of Davit
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of livewire05
2.5/5  rDev -29.8%

Photo of cfh64
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of Willywong1962
3/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of EL48823
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of BMMillsy
2.48/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

On tap at Bar Louie's in Ann Arbor. Cloudy yellow pour, creamy white head on top that sticks around for a while. Aroma is sour lemons, yeast, tart. Taste like sour urine, a bit watered down, unpleasant finish, slightly puckering. Was not impressed with this one, and not a huge fan of this style in general. I'll stick to DFH Festina instead, as this is the only one of the style that I found tolerable.

 403 characters

Photo of rcjennings
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of ArrogantB
3.28/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle i picked up at Beverage World in Ft. Oglethorpe. I had no idea this was a berliner based on the label though it did metion sour mash technique. Light orange color, hints of malt and tartness. Flavor was refreshing, slightly tart but had a hint of what seemed like stale malt. Easy to down but I might need a fresher sample.

 335 characters

Photo of spamages
4/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of jnikkel
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.88/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a New Belgium snifter. The pour was a clear, pale gold color with low carbonation and a thin head. The nose was faint and had mostly lemon notes as well as a faint grassy, hay-like aroma.

The beer was pretty light-bodied with a medium mouthfeel (neither firm nor thin). The flavor is very tart, but not overpoweringly so. Flavors include lemon, apples, and a slight touch of honey.

This is only the second Berliner Weissbier I've had (the other being Dogfish Head Festina Peche). I enjoyed this one more, but I don't know if it's because I liked the flavor or because I knew what to expect. If memory serves, I think that the DFH offering is a little more sour than this one (I'll have to try them together sometime to verify). Unfortunately, those two might be the only beers of this style I can easily get. It's a shame, since these beers are incredibly good thirst-quenchers.

 906 characters

Photo of wo87810
4.25/5  rDev +19.4%

Photo of FrankShirley
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of cestlavie
4.25/5  rDev +19.4%

Photo of grubefresh
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of rkarimi
3.87/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of mltobin
3.83/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a bottle of this berliner-weisse in Philly.

Poured into a wine glass, it has a light yellow color with a thin head. Oarsman has a nose of lemon, pepper and wheat. Sipping on this and I taste bread, yeast, spice and citrus. It is a light and refreshing beer, as one would hope for the style. Mouthfeel is light, with nice carbonation. Some dryness in the finish. It is not the best of the style that I have tried, but pretty good and some folks have easy access to it.

 475 characters

Photo of rhhjr
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of chasmandocharles
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of xDeadGuYx
1.5/5  rDev -57.9%

Photo of mattafett
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of TwelveOunces
3.55/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap in a pint glass

This beer pours golden yellow with a rahter lage white head and a slight haze to it. The nose has some floral citrus as well as some wheat and a lager feel. Taste of the beer is about the same and it also has a slight sourness to it. The beers flavors are well balanced but lack strength and complexity. It is rather easy drinking and accessible to just about anybody. Not bad, but quite average.

 427 characters

Photo of IlludiumQ36
4/5  rDev +12.4%

Oarsman Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.56 out of 5 based on 2,270 ratings.
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