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Whaleback White - Leelanau Brewing Company

Whaleback WhiteWhaleback White

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

82 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 82
Reviews: 52
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 13.86%


Brewed by:
Leelanau Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Witbier |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: putnam on 08-11-2005)
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Ratings: 82 | Reviews: 52 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of superspak
superspak

Michigan

4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 7/10/2012. Pours moderately hazy golden straw color with a 2 finger fairly dense white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings on the glass, with some moderate streaming carbonation. Aromas of big tart apple, lemon, pear, clove, pepper, hay, grass, wheat, oak, vinegar, leather, funk, and yeast earthiness. Incredible aromas with awesome complexity and balance of yeast ester and oak notes; with great strength. Taste of tart apple, lemon, pear, pepper, clove, wheat, bread, hay, grass, oak, vinegar, leather, funk, and yeast earthiness. Fair amount of earthy tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of light fruits, pepper, clove, wheat, bread, hay, grass, oak, vinegar, leather, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a bit. Damn nice balance and complexity of yeast and oak notes; with a light malt balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and light-medium bodied; with a very smooth, crisp, lightly prickly, and lightly acidic mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent wild witbier! All around great complexity and balance of oak and yeast ester flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2013 04:07:27 | More by superspak
Photo of jrenihan
jrenihan

Ontario (Canada)

3.99/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Beer is clear golden, with a very small white head.

Nose contains oak and funk. Smells lambic like. Light floral scents, peach.

Taste contains peach, light funk. Tart. Oak. Light fruits are nice, very delicate. Very nice.

Medium bodied, moderately carbonated. A bit dry.

Overall, really quite a nice beer. Nice twist on the witbier.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2013 02:57:16 | More by jrenihan
Photo of metter98
metter98

New York

4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is hazy pale yellow in color and has a moderate to high amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down a bit and consistently left a thin head overnight the surface.
S: Light aromas of funk are present in the nose.
T: Aromas of wheat are present in the nose along with notes of orange and hints of coriander spices, the latter of which are most noticeable towards the finish.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and slightly tart on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is easy to drink and has nice hints of sourness. It reminds me a lot like a Jolly Pumpkin beer and the bottle label notes it was brewed and bottled there.

Note: Bottled 7/10/12

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2013 18:46:24 | More by metter98
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

4.19/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike.

The beer is hazy straw yellow with an inch of white head. The aroma offers soft citrus and light spice. A touch of funk adds a nice touch. Light and fluffy on the palate. Really tasty, though different from a traditional witbier.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2013 19:36:42 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of cmadd
cmadd

Ontario (Canada)

4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into oversized wine glasses.

A: Hazeless body and light morning yellow body. Minimal head, but decent retention on the edges. Golden and illuminated.

S: Wheat malt, lactic acid and funk, lemons and white grapes.

T: Sharp lactic acid in the front with a light wheat backbone. The finish rounds out with lemons and white grapes and melons. Minimal bitterness and incredibly refined. This may not bowl you over with flavours, but they are clear and bright.

M: Mild carbonation and light body.

O: This witbier is so refined and gentle that it feels like a refreshing dawn, quiet and bright. Wonderful.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2012 01:27:49 | More by cmadd
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4DAloveofSTOUT

Illinois

4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml format; bottled on 08/09/2011.

poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: A pale and bright straw yellow bodied beer. The beer has 1 finger worth of white head that drops down to a thin cap.

Smell: Lemons, spicy, funky, wheat, and hay. This is not you standard wit beer! Really nice!

Taste: starts off with moderate lemon tartness. Hint of oranges and granny smith apples. The funkiness hits midpalate on into the finish and I would say the barnyard funk almost matches, but really balances the lemon flavors nicely. Some bready and yeasty notes are found in this beer as well. You do get the spiciness from the nose as a faint pepper and coriender notes. I get oak barrel in the finish and some earthiness to compliment the oak. This is not your standard witbeer...its way better.

Mouthfeel: Almost a medium bodied beer, but I am going to says it on the high end of light bodied. Its heavy for a witbeer anyways. Carbonation levels are moderate. The beer feels heavier than a witbeer, but its still really easy drinking. Its tart, crisp, refreshing, and mildly acidic. Finishes a little bit dry and tart.

Overall: Really enjoyable beer for a hot day. More of a sour than a witbeer, but the two styles overlap. This beer has taken the best charistics from both styles and used them to the beers advantage! Got really lucky finding this beer!

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2012 18:23:02 | More by 4DAloveofSTOUT
Photo of woosterbill
woosterbill

Connecticut

4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle (bottled 8/9/11) into a wine glass at Spuyten Duyvil.

A: Lightly hazed gold body; a thin white head settles into a ring. Nice.

S: Lovely. Fresh, tart aroma of sour citrus, floral Brett, and general sour goodness. Awesome!

T: Even juicier and citrusier than the nose, with solid tartness underscoring the bright fruit and moderate minerality. Clean, tart, dry finish. Delicious.

M: Soft, delicate, ultra-fine carbonation in a medium body. Great.

O: The bartender recommended this as consolation for the last Fou'Foune having just been sold, and (while no Cantillon) it was a terrific surprise. Definitely more of a Wild Ale than a Witbier (even wilder than Anchorage Whiteout Wit, which was just purely Bretty - Whaleback is both funky and sour), this one delivers pure, unadulterated sour goodness. My friends and I all agreed that this was a real winner. I'll be seeking out more Leelanau stuff the next time I'm at a good NY bottle shop.

Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2012 01:08:58 | More by woosterbill
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Strong funky aroma, some liniment as well. Attractive white body with generous big bubbled head. Above average mouthfeel. Tart not sour is the feature, with a witbier in the secondary. Very drinkable. Masterful. all this flavour in these styles at sessionable abv. But the aroma may scare off the timid.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2012 00:18:11 | More by Sammy
Photo of AleWatcher
AleWatcher

Illinois

4.58/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottled 08.09.11

Looks like a cloudy white wine. Golden yellow... Virtually no head. Thin oily legs, no lace.

Smells glorious. Spicy wheat notes blend with lemony citrus sour tartness and create a delicious bouquet.

The flavor has all the notes from the nose, plus a light oaky character and a bit of earthy funk. The lemony tart sourness is amazing.

Medium feel with low carbonation... Really nice.

Overall-- very fucking nice. This IS the best wheat beer ever! Ever!

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2012 01:06:18 | More by AleWatcher
Photo of sbrotschul
sbrotschul

New Jersey

3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this bottle up at House of 1000 Beers (http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/15450) in New Kensington, PA. It was my first time in the store, so I picked up a few guilty pleasures beer -- including three from Leelanau Brewing Company. I had lived in the county and know of the brewers through friends. This was my first time trying their beer.

Appearance. A great bottle, a fun pour. A really interesting witbier -- which made me think of champange -- all that was missing was the cork. Start of the bottle was clear to the yellow; end of the bottle was hazy to the muddled orange.

Smell. Not a typical witbier. Fruity, fun.

Taste. As close to champagne as you get with a beer ... nice!

Mouthfeel. Bubbly, nice, strong.

Overall. A good selection from Leelanau Brewing Company.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2011 19:05:10 | More by sbrotschul
Photo of Brenden
Brenden

Ohio

4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer showed up as part of the Monday night mini-tastings I go to with some people in Toledo. All I saw was the bottle and I had no info on the beer before trying it. That said, anyone expecting a traditional witbier will be surprised. For me, it was a pleasant surprise.

It's obviously unfiltered, as it ought to be, so the sediment is quite heavy and the cloudiness is thick. The color is a somewhat darker than typical medium yellow. The head is white and soft, dropping to a foam and leaving a bit of spotty lacing around.
The aroma offers soft lemony sourness bantering with Belgian yeast in an interesting way; they play off each other pretty well rather than clashing. A level and gently pronounced spicing comes out underneath.
The flavor is the same, but there's a bit more complexity that comes out. The lemon sourness is natural without being biting, slightly acidic without being overwhelmingly so. Nothing's overdone but nothing's underdone, either; the light dusty, earthy and sweet notes of the Belgian yeast and spicing combine with the lemon and a light funk to make for a soft but strong flavor full of depth. An almost woody dryness pulls through underneath as well.
This is appropriately light for the style, with a gentle but steady carbonation. The crisp nip is never bracing or harsh and doesn't fade, nor does the smoothness that keeps this beer flowing all the way through the finish.
This beer is not what I expected, but it was a pleasant surprise.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2011 14:42:29 | More by Brenden
Photo of GDBEERMAN
GDBEERMAN

Colorado

4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle shared, into tulip. Thanks buddy for bringing this cellared gem over.

A: a hazy golden straw body, with a white head, low levels of carbonation. Light lacing as well.

S: light wheat and total funk, wow this beer has become quite the epic sour. Lemon notes of zest and orange, blend very well with the acidic body.

T/ M: This aged brew, has developed very well in the realms of sour, a laco acid bit, with barnyard brett. Smooth and light mouthfeel, this is a great base beer for barrel aging and souring.

O: Overall I would have liked to try this brew when fresh, but with a little age, this is one he'll of a sour, intended or not.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2011 16:30:16 | More by GDBEERMAN
Photo of craytonic
craytonic

District of Columbia

4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Nice hay-straw-ellow golden pour with great chambagne carbonation. Good white head that sticks around.

Smell: Never would have guessed that this was a witbier; nice earthy spiciness with lemon, orange and coriander with some sort of floral notes. Very very faint funkiness but a nice nod.

Taste: Slight lemon-tartness, with lemon and orange followed by coriander and other spices with perhaps a faint oakiness in the back. Very very tasty.

Mouthfeel: Nice champagne- bubble light carbonation keeps it spritzy and drinkable.

Overall: I really enjoyed this one, more so than most jolly pumpkin offerings. They need to make more and send it my way.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2011 18:01:23 | More by craytonic
Photo of BearsOnAcid
BearsOnAcid

Massachusetts

3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Surprised to see this is brewed at Jolly Pumpkin.

Milky golden yellow body, fluffy white head. A little dark for a white ale.

Strong lemon, belgian esters coriander and a little bubblegum aroma.

Taste follows the nose with a strong lemon flavor. Zesty and crisp on the finish. Some coriander and esters in the background. Very refreshing but people could be taken back by the powerful lemony-ness of this beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2011 00:56:35 | More by BearsOnAcid
Photo of mrmiles
mrmiles

California

3.43/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Another fantastic gift from Santa. A brewery I've never heard of before let alone tried. Thanks again Deuane.

A: Pale orange-ish yellow when held to the light. A gentle pour reveals no head. Very few bubbles.

S: Orange peel citrus. There is a creamyness to the smell. A tartness is present as well.

T: Here the orange peel is very present. The tartness is very light, but adds a very refreshing character to this beer.

M: The lack of carbonation makes this beer a bit more viscous. The finish is somewhat dry. Think champagne minus the carbonation.

D: This beer is crisp and refreshing. Very easy to drink and enjoyable. With a relatively low abv it is very drinkable.

Overall this is a good beer. I wish I had saved for a nice hot sunny day on the patio it would have been perfect for that. I enjoyed being able to try this beer and this brewery. Thanks again Deuane.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2011 10:03:53 | More by mrmiles
Photo of BieresDesMoines
BieresDesMoines

Iowa

4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had one of those "you know you're a beer geek when" moments when my heart nearly leapt from my chest when i found this gem on a store shelf in Chicago. Pours a nice golden color of course at the beginning of the bottle with perfect clarity, as the bottle drained of course it became hazier and hazier, but no less beautiful. The head is medium white and leaves some lace. The aroma is very funky with some lemon rind and a slight alcohol character. There is some good barnyard aromas along with some citrus and new oak. The flavor follows perfectly dry with that essential lemon rind character. This beer is all kinds of tart with plenty of sourness however it has some great fruitiness and a mild malty and spicy character to it as well. Everything about this beer works in this sort of perfect unison. Of course you can tell that Jolly Pumpkin house character is in there, but I can't wait to see what these folks do at their own brewery, they'll be standing on the shoulders of a giant no doubt. I wish I could drink this beer every single day, multiple times a day. The cost of something like this is of course is one of the biggest arguing points for working on your homebrewing chops.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2010 19:44:16 | More by BieresDesMoines
Photo of SpdKilz
SpdKilz

Illinois

4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First of all, a huge thanks to erikkoppin for this tasty beer. Cheers!
Appearance - Pours into my JP Pint Glass with a slightly hazy, golden color. Only about a half a finger of head is achieved with a moderate pour, that quickly dissipates leaving little lacing.

Smell - Citrus, coriander, orange peel, barnyard funk, wheat, must.

Taste - Quite tart in the initial sip. My mouth puckers expectantly. Lemon zest, oak, sour cherries, wheat, and spices. So damn enjoyable in this 80 degree "fall" day in Southern California.

Mouthfeel - Medium to lighter bodied, prickly carbonation.

Drinkability - I am trying not to quaff this. Bursting with mouth-puckering flavor, this is a real treat. Glad I was able to try this and if I happen upon it in the future I will be sure to pick it up. Very good.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2010 23:51:40 | More by SpdKilz
Photo of Tone
Tone

Missouri

3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, pale gold color. 1/3 inch head of a white color. Good retention and decent lacing. Smells of tart malt, wheat, yeast, slight citrus, and a hint of hop. Fits the style of a Witbier. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with a high carbonation level. There is also a tartness present. Tastes of tart malt, wheat, yeast, citrus, and a hint of hop. Overall, good aroma, body, and blend.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2010 13:55:31 | More by Tone
Photo of techfed87
techfed87

Michigan

4.4/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a well sized frothy head. Color is dark yellow.

Smells tart, with sour overtones.

First sip is nice and tight, almost more like a champaign rather than a beer. It's light, a fruit-like sour yeast presence, and a great carbonation presence. It's refreshing in exactly the same way that a soda would be on a hot day. And with an ABV much within normality, it would make this an absolute must for summer!

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2010 01:02:19 | More by techfed87
Photo of jwinship83
jwinship83

Illinois

4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml capped bottle drank out of my new belgium globe glass. its not the usual glass choice for the style, but this isnt the typical witbier.

A- this one pours out a hazy golden yellow colored body with a large two finger bright white head. the head lasts a long time and leaves behind a solid wall of lacing. cant ask for anything more.

S- the first thing i get are some of the usual wit smells. belgian yest, coriander, and clove. after that i pick up a burst of lemon zest and earthy/musty "funk." theres a definite tart component to this.

T- the taste starts out like the typical wit again. bubblegum, banana, clove, coriander. then comes a nice musty/earthy/barnyard like thing with lots of lemon as well. not as tart as i was expecting.

M- light bodied and thin. a very high level of carbonation. long aftertaste and a very dry finish.

D- after learning that this was brewed by jolly pumpkin i put it on my list of things to try. it was bumped to the top as soon as it went on sale. i wish i had grabbed this one sooner. very different, and in a good way. ill have no problem downing the rest of this bottle.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2010 05:02:11 | More by jwinship83
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
LilBeerDoctor

New York

3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 10/6/09. Bottle. Pours a cloudy golden yellow with a thick white head. Aroma of sour funk (barnyard), tart candies, lemon, bready malt, and light citrus. Flavor is light and sour with bready malt in the background. Overall, light crisp sourness with a touch of bitter hops. Not really a witbier; this just tastes like the other Jolly Pumpkin sour ales or maybe a sour Belgian ale (pretty similar to Bam Biere). Enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2009 03:05:44 | More by LilBeerDoctor
Photo of gford217
gford217

Georgia

3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500mL bottle courtesy of xnoxhatex poured into a tulip. My first beer from this brewery actually.

Pours a bright, hazy golden yellow with a big bubbly white head that is continually fed by a steady stream of bubbles from the bottom. The lacing is very good and a rocky white cap stays on for the duration.

The aroma has tart lemons with a healthy dose of yeasty sourness and some barnyard funk creeping in. There are plenty of spices, including clove, and bready malts in the background.

The taste is very tart up front, a combination of tart, sweet fruits and the Belgian yeast. The bready malts form a backbone that gives way to a dry, yeasty finish with the funk lingering on the palate.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and spritzy on the palate with lots of bubbly carbonation. It's dry and much more tart than a typical Belgian wit, but it's also extremely refreshing with the tartness really adding a complexity that I enjoyed.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2009 00:22:40 | More by gford217
Photo of drpimento
drpimento

Wisconsin

3.03/5  rDev -25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This to me is a style that is less open to interpretation. Given that this poured with an excellent head with great retention and lace. Color is a straw/lemonade yellow. Aroma is fresh, tart, slightly malty and no spices despite label. Body was a tad thin but had good carbonation. Compared with the gold standard wits it's ok; on its own a bit better. Finish is ok, short; nothing special. Session beer if you're into tart.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2009 03:06:51 | More by drpimento
Photo of SykDoc
SykDoc

Wisconsin

4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. It pours a pale yellow color. A two inch white head forms and slowly reduces to a healthy full coverage lacing. Definite visible carbonation and no sediment.

The aroma is quite good and has a healthy sourness to it. There are notes of coriander, white pepper, and orange rind, as well as some wheat and grass components.

The taste is a bit mild to me. There is the healthy dose of sour, which is quite pleasant. There are again, notes of coriander and orange, as well as lemon and yeast. Good but could be thicker.

The mouthfeel is fairly light bodied with a good dose of carbonation, which highlights the flavor. It is crisp and clean with just a little dryness left over.

This is a good beer. It is easy to drink and could be enjoyed any time of the year. There are just a couple spots that keep it from being really good.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2009 18:37:09 | More by SykDoc
Photo of vrazionale
vrazionale

Vermont

4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle at refrigerator temperature poured into a snifter.

A - Pale yellow body with a fluffy, two-finger head that fades down to an even layer across the top. Little yeast floaties can be seen along the edges of the brew where the light shines through.

S - Bright, juicy, sweet citrus alongside musky funk. A touch of apricot and an easy-going, well-integrated spice bouquet, with coriander and white pepper most prominent. The wheat notes are subtle, but very soft and clean, not really bready at all. I also pick up notes of sweet grass and even a whiff of ocean salt.

T - Delicious. Very juicy, with sweet orange, meyer lemon, tangerine, apricot, and lemon flavors all working in concert. The funkiness mostly remains on the nose, but I pick up a little wet basement funk on the finish. The funk adds a nice touch to the soft wheat and citrus fruit flavor profile.

M - Brisk carbonation, and very refreshing on the palate. The crisp mouthfeel really works well alongside the soft wheat texture.

D - Hands-down one of the best white ales I've yet come across. Normally I find white ales pretty boring and straightforward, but this brew is certainly an exception. At just over 5% ABV, don't expect big, bold flavors here - the wheat adds a soft texture to the interplay of juicy citrus fruit and wild yeast funk flavors. The perfect brew for drinking with friends on a warm summer night.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2009 01:45:50 | More by vrazionale
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Whaleback White from Leelanau Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 82 ratings.