Oarsman Ale | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

2,271 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: 2,271 |  Reviews: 639
Photo of Phelps
3.56/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in a shaker pint.

Pale wheat color with just a touch of haze and a creamy one-finger head of pure white froth.

Very little aroma. A touch of funk, a little fruity wheat, and some barnyard mustyness.

Light, refreshing flavor. Apple, sweet wheat and just a little tartness.

Medium-light body with moderate carbonation and silky fizz. Watery but soft. Very soft tartness.

I'd place the Oarsman somewhere between an American pale wheat ale and a Berliner weiss. Light and refreshing, it would make a good summer beer.

 530 characters

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

Thin yellow beer with haze, nice small white head on it, not much for retention or whatnot. Aroma, mild lemony tart, some wheat, this seems decent.

Taste, yum, more wheat lemon, but a good amount of sour tartness. So light on its feet, kept packing good tartness, light body allowed for a real refreshing experience, can really spruce up the palate after heavier beers. Never goes into sweet territory, never lets up, a solid mouthfeel full of tart/sour/lemon/wheat/ yet so easy to drink, not even sip if you didn't want to.

Another winner from Bell's.

 556 characters

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

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Bottled on 10/25/11.

A: Hazy straw yellow, with a rapidly dissipating 1.5 finger head. Similar looking to a hefeweizen, except a shade lighter.

S: I'm getting some apple, wheat, acid and light soft fruits on the nose. The aroma is subtle, but pleasant.

T: Some tart sour apple, lots of fresh lemon and some sugar. Similar to a Kolsch, it drinks like a lager, but whereas Kolsch has a more floral fruity taste, this is sour and acidic. I'm no expert on the style, but this is a very drinkable and refreshing beer.

M: Fairly full bodied. It's lightly carbonated, and finishes with a big bright lemony zing.

Overall, a very good beer, outside of my comfort zone, but it makes me curious to try others in the style.

 756 characters

Photo of tworoosters
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of ryanpj
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of Zachb4au
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of Shmantha
4/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of nrombes
3.25/5  rDev -8.7%

Photo of ahq514
3.47/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into shaker pint glass.

Pours a light, transparent gold. Very light, white head. Appears to have a decent amount of carbonation.

Aroma is fairly faint. Some light hints of wheat linger, with a supplementary tartness. Nothing else distinguishable detected.

Taste matches aroma quite well. Not a whole lot to it. Get some very faint hints of wheat up front followed by a light, refreshing tartness. No detectable hops or specific malt characteristics besides the wheat. Agree with most others on the wateryness.

On the higher side of carbonation. Light body and extremely drinkable.

I first tried this about a year ago and I remember it being more flavorful. If you're looking for a refreshing, lighter craft beer, go with Oarsman. There are plenty of other low alcohol beers that are more flavorful if you're looking for a great session beer.

 871 characters

Photo of CBEdirector
4.75/5  rDev +33.4%

Photo of UltimateLivewire
3.25/5  rDev -8.7%

Photo of wilfonzo
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of lstokes
3.1/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I really wanted to like this one, really, really--but then my boyfriend started drinking his, and after a few mouthfuls, he looked over and said "Your favorite beer style tastes like watery Miller Lite and fermented apple juice."

I wouldn't be quite that harsh. It paired decently with a spicy Asian dish, but once drinking on its own, I thought this was incredibly watery, with stale wheat malt and just a touch of sourness. I love the tart, crisp German version and this was a disappointment.

I will probably try it again in hopes that we got a bad batch, but man, this was the first Bell's letdown I've had.

 614 characters

Photo of Gatch
3.93/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Flanny's in Tempe, AZ. Excited to try my first Berliner Weissbier.

A: Slight hazy, bright yellow. Not much head.

S: Watered-down lemonade. Very subtle dry, sour smell.

T: Pretty good. Like a light, sweet pilsner. Slightly tart lemon, grassy/earthy dryness. Slight slight tingle.

M: Great flavor, refreshing, and the right amount of sour. Lightly carbonated. Easy and enjoyable to drink.

O: Bell's has done a fine job with this beer, regardless of the style. It gets me more excited to try other versions of the style. Seems to be a good introductory sour for non-sour drinkers because it's light on the sour and ABV but big on flavor.

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Photo of eric_berge
2.75/5  rDev -22.8%

Photo of neckbracesub
3/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of bhayle
3/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of MIP229
4/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of carrollmel7
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of Lantern
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of bhawk1
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of Calculat0r
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of Agold
4.37/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is probably the lightest beer I have ever seen. Pretty clear, but there is a bit of haze. Initial bright white head which recedes to nothing relatively quickly. There is visible carbonation on the glass. Aroma is mildly lemony with some mild tartness and a bit of maybe smooth wheat and very mild funk. There is lots of lemon and maybe peach with some nice tartness and a bit more musty dirtyness than the aroma. Mouthfeel is great. Light, high carbonation, refreshing, and dry. I had this on tap a while ago and was not as impressed with it. I think it was the lower carbonation. The aggressive effervescent carbonation really helps a lot of the other aspects of the tartness and fruit shine.

 703 characters

Photo of shand
4.18/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

For whatever reason, this is the first time I've ever seen Oarsman here in Florida. It's a nice cloudy yellow-white color with a large white head that quickly drops. The aroma is nice, it's got sour wheat aromas along with some overripe fruit and lemons. The taste is very, very nice. It's got strong lemon flavors at first, backed up by a slightly tart wheat. The tartness lets up a bit at the end, letting the wheat and a bit of fruit fade into the sunset. It's really quite the beautiful beer. The mouthfeel is refreshing and slightly drying, and the drinkability is great. I can't help but think we were getting the short end of the stick here in Florida for a while. You see, we got Oberon year-round, but didn't get Oarsman at all. And it's a damn shame we're only getting this fantastic beer now.

 861 characters

Photo of chugalug06
3.48/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Very nice light yellow color. Decent amount of cloudiness, but still quite clear. Not much head to speak of. When swirled, a nice white soapy head slowly rises.

S - Smells dirty, horse blanket-y, and musty. Strong lemon too.

T/M - Very heavy (too much) carbonation. Thin bodied. Very nice uptight taste. Almost a sour. A very good tasting Berliner Weiss. Yum! Strong lemon and farm flavors.

O - A bit all over the place, but still a very good brew. Super glad I got to try this one! Nice extra in a great trade with Nppeders!!! Thank you!

 546 characters

Oarsman Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.56 out of 5 based on 2,271 ratings.
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