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Whaleback White - Leelanau Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Whaleback WhiteWhaleback White

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

86 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 86
Reviews: 52
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 13.79%
Wants: 28
Gots: 5 | FT: 1
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 86 | Reviews: 52 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by mjohn27603:
Photo of mjohn27603
3.55/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours faint yellow in color out of the bottle. Very light in color. Loads of carbonation. The beer continues to fizz long after pouring. Beer has sour aroma, slightly grassy in odor. Beer has a sour taste and a bit of fruit like lemon. Sharp tart taste. Finish is a bit on the dry side. The taste leaves you not very refreshed after drinking.

mjohn27603, Sep 20, 2005
More User Reviews:
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a bright pale golden body with a large rocky white head, looks almost like a pils more so than a wit on first glance. Lacing is left on the glass in patches of fine lacing sporadically aligned on my Hoegaarden tumbler. As the final dregs of yeast sediment are poured into this brew, it transcends from a slightly hazed pale yellow to a full on cloudy golden white ale.

Aromatically my first thought was a nice chardonnay, dry yet fruity and peppery with spice notes. The acidity from the orange peel and spice additions with the French Oak barrel aging develops that wine like characteristic although no grapes were harmed in the making of this beer.

Flavor provides a great blend of flavors from the tart fruit to the wild yeast components of leather and yogurt like tartness. Heavy on the citrus and acidity, addition of spices add sharp peppery and bitter bite to it. Creamy yogurt sweet yet a lactic finish exists with wild horse blanket barnyard funk. Somehow it's all refreshing when blended together.

Mouthfeel is sharp with acidic notes yet dry with oak barrel aging effects and spice additions. Carbonation is champagne like very effervescent tiny bubbled creation, this one really stays on the palate. Wild American ale might outweigh a hoppy beer in a tasting lineup, a brew that could throw me into palate fatigue very easily if in a drinking session with different beers.

Drinkability is nice for the complexity factor I had the Jolly Pumpkin Calabaza Blanca last night aged in a 12 oz portion for over a year last night and felt it was dead on. I enjoyed this version as well but the acidity weighed to heavy to become a session beer for me. Other than that excellent, this Whaleback White was also aged for a year and if you're in the Pittsburgh area make it to Valley Wine Cellar in Steubenville OH to grab a few bottles of this and Leelanau Golden Ale that has been aged since the first bottling of this release.

WVbeergeek, May 15, 2009
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Serve in a chalice)

A- This beer has a pale straw yellow hued body that is crystal clear with a big carbonation of large bubbles. There is a huge white head that last and sticks to the glass as the beer is sipped.

S- The smell of fresh rain and slightly musty basements gives way to a crisp yeasty hint and a slight funky grapefruit quality.

T- The taste is pretty light and crisp with a light lemon zest note followed by a soft grapefruit bitterness at the finish and a light dish soap note that lingers for just a second. When the beer is really warm the coriander comes through in the finish followed by some green herbal hops hints.

M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with a tight fizz finish and a texture that is more full when you get more foam in a sip.

D- This beer has a nice bright smell to it but the taste doesn't follow through. It is a bit thin and watery until the beer is at room temp.

rhoadsrage, Jul 24, 2008
Photo of Brenden
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

Brenden, Nov 22, 2011
Photo of Sammy
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

Sammy, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of GDBEERMAN
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

GDBEERMAN, Aug 02, 2011
Photo of Gonzoillini
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Gonzoillini, May 18, 2013
Photo of Mbpike
1.75/5  rDev -56.9%

Mbpike, Aug 30, 2013
Photo of nortmand
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours cloudy yellow with a huge white head. That leaves some nice lace.

Rich coriander aromas mingle with pickle for a strange, yet pleasing medley.

Sweet spiciness up front. Ends sour, a bit too there. Could use a tad more subtlety. Very refreshing, though.

Medium bodies and very drinkable. I'm excited to see what Jolly Pumpkin beers have evolved into.

nortmand, Sep 11, 2006
Photo of sbrotschul
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

sbrotschul, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of SpdKilz
4.1/5  rDev +1%
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.

SpdKilz, Sep 13, 2010
Photo of emerge077
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a semi-hazy pastel yellow, lots of effervescent upward carbonation. Three fingers of foam, with a meringue surface.

Dusty wheat and peach candy in the aroma, similar to Calabaza Blanca but not identical. A touch of the rustic oak barrel also.

Coriander, rosemary, tart lemon with a faint wheaty backbone. Dry finish keeps thirst quenched with continued sipping. It has a juicy feel at first that dances momentarily, and quickly evaporates. As it warms up, the herbal notes come through a bit more, and the wheat is faint in the aftertaste.

Carbonation is prickly like mineral water, but works well with the tart lemon. Overall it's a great thirst quencher, and at around 5% abv, it's easy to finish a bottle yourself.

emerge077, Nov 25, 2007
Photo of BierFan
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a pint glass.

Large off-white head dominated the glass. Body of the beer is a hazy bright yellow. Sour and ctric, a little bit of oakiness once the head has settled. The sourness no doubt comes from the oak aging it underwent at Jolly Pumpkin where it was exposed to Brettanomyces. Certainly tastes unlike any other white ale I've had. The Brett dominates the flavor, but I think the sourness really lends itself well to the witbier style.

BierFan, May 05, 2009
Photo of Liquoric3
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Liquoric3, Apr 24, 2013
Photo of DrDoitchbig
5/5  rDev +23.2%

DrDoitchbig, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of metter98
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
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

metter98, Sep 15, 2013
Photo of vrazionale
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

vrazionale, Jul 23, 2009
Photo of KCM
4/5  rDev -1.5%

KCM, Sep 18, 2012
Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to hopdog for opening this up...
Appears a pale yellow with a small white head. Little spots of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of tart apple with wheat and some oaky, wild brew with lemon, and clove.
Taste is of the same aromas.
Mouthfeel is tart and dry.
hopdog opened up a Calabaza Blanca side by side b/c I was suspicious about this being the same brew. The Calabaza Blanca is more sugary, with pronounced orange(while this was lemony), and less tart than this.

weeare138, May 19, 2006
Photo of shroompod
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a rocky white meringue head that lasts the whole glass. Cloudy light yellow in color.

Aroma of light citrus rinds and a slight musty funkiness.

Flavors of coriander, tart fruity wheat , and orange peel are evident.

Mouthfeel is creamy, light with good carbonation.

Overall an easy drinking beer , recommended.

shroompod, Oct 20, 2008
Photo of BearsOnAcid
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

BearsOnAcid, Feb 19, 2011
Photo of techfed87
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
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!

techfed87, Jul 06, 2010
Photo of curly31989
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

curly31989, Apr 05, 2012
Photo of liamt07
4/5  rDev -1.5%

liamt07, Sep 16, 2013
Photo of meathookjones
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Slightly cloudy straw yellow color body with a tall foamy white head that almost erupted out of the glass. Sticky patches and rings of laced adhered to the glass. Nice spicy and yeasty aroma really jumps out at you once this is poured. Lingering underneath that are sweet fruit notes with just a touch of tartness. Sweet and tart fruits with plenty of spices upfront on the flavor. Doughy malt and yeast notes over some lightly tart woody notes really add to the depth. Dry and slightly tart finish with a mild notes of green apples. Lively carbonation with a crisp and refreshing feel. I could have a few bottles of this in a sitting. Easy drinking and lots going on in the flavor.

meathookjones, Jun 01, 2006
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Whaleback White from Leelanau Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 86 ratings.