Oarsman Ale | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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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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Reviews: 627 | Ratings: 2,227
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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

For style this is an excellent beer. Nice light color on the pour. Good carbonation. Aroma is of wheat and some tartness. Taste is light and refreshing. I pick up some wheat and some lemony zest, maybe a hint of salt. Like a light Gose. Super easy drinker. Will be bringing some of these golfing/canoeing for sure.

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Photo of Dravin
3.93/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Duvel tulip. Bottled on date of 12/10/15.

Look -- Pours a slightly hazy pale gold with a finger of white head that leaves nice lacing. The head dissipated inside of a minute.

Smell -- Lactic tartness, some sweetness and citrusy notes poking through.

Taste -- Nice light tartness, the wheat comes through and that hint of sweetness in the nose is back again to counterbalance the tartness. It's a subtle balance between tart and sweet and I think they did very well with it.

Feel -- Light and crisp body. It acidifies the mouth some but it doesn't linger and would be a perfect palate cleanser.

Overall -- A nice restrained tart beer. It doesn't have the acid battery pucker power of some other Berliner Weissbiers I've had but I'm perfectly happy about that. This would be a fantastic beer to be enjoying on a sunny summer patio with a plate of fries or even some sausage to get the whole tart vs. fatty thing going on.

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Photo of cyclonece09
3.85/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a pint glass from a bottle. Pours cloudy yellow orange with a tiny white head. Smells of sweet wheat and citrus, especially orange. Tastes of sweet wheaty grain but with a bit of a sour taste, but not overly lip puckering. Beer is light bodied, nicely carbonated, and easy drinking. Overall, a good beer, and a very nice beer to introduce sour tastes to those who have not acquired that taste.

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Photo of lwillitz
3.21/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12-oz bottle into New Belgium globe

A - 1-finger white head over a cloudy golden body, moderate visible carbonation

S - fruity, grapey tartness, quite faint

T - lemon, bread, light tartness, fruity notes (hints of apple/grape)

M - light body, high carbonation, refreshing

O - This would be refreshing as a summer beer, but overall I'm unimpressed.

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Photo of Act25
3.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Love the brewer, love this beer, the best of its class that I have tried.

A: Pours a hazy lemon with a modest egg white head shrinks and doesnt lace much.

S: I get fruity, grassy, lemony tartness.

T: My experience begins lemony balanced by white bread crust, and it's extremely refreshing.

F: Refreshing body with prickly carbonation that out punches its weight in satisfaction.

O: This is a must try. Original, great. Try 12.

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Photo of SDak
4.33/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Berliner that started it all for me. Opened my eyes to the style and I always pick it up when I get the chance. Love it for summer especially. This spawned many gallons of sour mashing at home as well.

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

Yellow, light, good degree of haze to it, super small white head . Aroma was wheat and lemon.

Sour tart wheat and lemon in the taste. Very light bodied. Refreshing. Pretty much a summer only beer for me though, but in that season, it hits the spot.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.76/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The Bell's Oarsman pours a hazy golden glow, 80% opaque, with the cloudiness of a good Hefeweizen. Head is 3 fingers, creamy and fluffy. Leaves lace in drops and splashes.

Aromas of lemons, limes, sweet tarts, and yeast. A dash of white pepper. A little faint but decent.

Tastes of yeast, lemon squirts, citrus pith, and white bread crusts. Faint but refreshing.

Feel is crisp, clean, and effervescent. The finish is semi-creamy and wet.

I do like this ale, although it's somewhat underwhelming. A great refresher, especially in hot weather I'm sure.

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Photo of kitch
3.18/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

A 12 fl oz bottle with a packaged date of 6th March 2015 and poured into a short stemmed wine glass.

Appearance: It poured a very cloudy light straw yellow colour with a one finger white head that dissipated quickly to nothing leaving minimal spotty lacing.

Aroma: Tangy, lemon honey mix with a hint of apple and pear.

Taste: Light sour lemon and sour green apple juice.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied with high carbonation.

Overall: This was a decent enough Berliner Weisse. It is easy to drink and refreshing but not my favourite for the style.

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Photo of leegang
3.95/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 330ml bottle ice chilled into a pint glass.

A: Poured a hazy light straw colored brew with quite a big head which instantly died down into a long-lasting lace around the glass.Quite a bit of carbonation as tiny bubbles keep oozing up from the bottom of the glass. Looks simply amazing, now time for the smell.

S: Dominant lemon zesty nose with slight herbal aroma with traces of spice (cloves?). Just by smelling it I can start to feel my mouth watering.

T: A light yet delightful tinge of sourness envelopes the taste buds which almost dissipates immediately, leaving a tart and dry finish. The light sourness tastes like fresh-squeezed lemonade on ice without the sharp initial sour bite that most lemonade have, and the smoothness of the wheat balance off any other sharp tones making this an extremely well balanced beer.

M: Very light bodied with a high amount of carbonation (serving it ice-cold is the way to go). The fizzy carbonation and light sourness plays an extremely wonderful trick on the tongue.

O: An extremely refreshing and sessionable beer. Very well-balanced in terms of the carbonation, mouthfeel and sourness. Many may think it as being too light and less savoury than other sour beers out there, but I personally think that this is an extremely well balanced lightly soured beer that is surprisingly versatile and tasty! A damn fine refreshing beer especially in a hot day, and does wonders when paired with freshly baked fish. Definitely stocking up on this.

Singapore, 30/11/15.

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Photo of MemphisSooner
4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The reviews of this beer are an exercise in missing the point. This is a fantastic beer. It is category destroying, as it is not exactly a berliner weiss, but is in the 'sour/tart', low abv family. This beer is refreshing, tart, drinkable, and satisfying on a hot day. If you are thirsty, want a break from the norm, and enjoy the tart flavor profile, get this one. Super tasty.

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Photo of jimdalton
3.68/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pale, golden, straw color with a cloudy haze. Quickly receding one inch head with light lacing.
Odor: Sour, tart top notes with light malt undertones
Taste: Tart citrus flavor (cranberry with a hint of lemon) and a smooth yet subtle malt base. Subtle earthy, herbal notes as well. There is a sophisticated balance at work in this beer.
Mouthfeel: Lighter in body with a medium carbonation.
Overall: Bell's Oarsman is a wonderfully tart beer that ventures into the realm of citrus and earthy flavors and does not disappoint. This isn’t your old standby, and it is definitely worth the experience.

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Photo of beergoot
3.56/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Light gold in color with a fizzy head. Aroma is sweet and lemony; tangy and sour. The flavor follows the aroma. Light bodied and rather fizzy on the tongue; mostly dry finish.

A fair enough beer for the style.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.1/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Batch 14709 bottled 8/18/15.

12 oz bottle served chilled into a Pilsner glass. Oarsman is a very pale straw yellow color with thin fizzy white head. This beer appears to be bottle conditioned and I poured the yeast dregs in so it's got considerable haze.

Aroma is mild with hints of slightly sour fruit.

Flavor is also mild but has great character including tart lemon, wheat, and just a bit of wild yeast funk.

Mouthfeel is light in body and nicely carbonated.

Easy drinking but not super simple. An enjoyable summer session beer with depth and character.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy straw color with a head that fizzes away almost instantly. Aroma is classic berliner weisse: sweet lemon or lemonade with some honey hints and wheat. Taste starts with wheat beer notes and follows with a pretty light, lemony tartness. Body is light and well carbonated, making the beer very refreshing and easy to drink. Overall this is a very well made, classic berliner weisse.

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Oarsman Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.56 out of 5 based on 2,227 ratings.
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