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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

85 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 85
Reviews: 52
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 13.79%
Wants: 25
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)
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Ratings: 85 | Reviews: 52 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sun-washed gold with lemonade trim. I wouldn't call the carbonation Champagne-like, but it's definitely on the generous side. It creates and is maintaining an airy, bright white crown that filled half the glass on the initial pour. Broad swaths of lace appear on the glass, are washed away, and then reappear with each subsequent pour.

Seeing the words 'Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales' on the label (as in 'brewed and bottled... by') led me to expect the farmhouse funkiness that is present in the nose. There goes any chance of a classic witbier aroma. In fact, I'm not even sure I can appreciate coriander and Curacao orange peel. If style is ignored completely, as I've chosen to do, the nose is pleasureable and indicates an interesting experience yet to come.

Whaleback White is anything but a standard wit. That said, it maintains enough resemblance to the style to be a success rather than a failure. For once, I don't mind the JP way of doing things because it hasn't been taken the the 'nth' degree. Be aware, though, that this is one distinctive witbier.

Enough malt sugars have survived to give the beer a sneaky, pale malt sweetness that is the key to whole shootin' match. It keeps things grounded and allows the other flavors and flavor sensations to do their things unimpeded. Top notes include a citrus peel tartness that is as much lemon as orange; a light dusting of ground clove, cardamom and white pepper; and a moderate dose of Brett that adds untold complexity to what is tasting more and more like a witbier-lambic-wild ale hybrid.

Aging WW in 100% new French oak (new, as opposed to previously having held wine or spirits) adds yet another facet. It gives the beer a Chardonnay-like oakiness that is growing on me with each passing ounce. Now that I've reached the midway portion of this '750', I'm fully onboard.

Given the flavor profile, the mouthfeel is entirely appropriate. It has a solid foundation (again, because of the malt sugars), but is almost ethereally light and sparkling, like fine Champagne. More volume and a hint of light creaminess (think world-class Belgian) would be needed to tempt me into breaking out the big score.

Whaleback White uses the classic witbier palette, along with a few new colors and some subtle shading, to create something close to a masterpiece. It pushes the limits of the style without blowing right through them. I wish the majority of the Jolly Pumpkin beers would follow suit.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2007 22:00:24 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of BieresDesMoines
BieresDesMoines

Iowa

4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
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 Brenden
Brenden

Ohio

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

05-18-2013 19:28:17 | More by Gonzoillini
Photo of curly31989
curly31989

Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

04-05-2012 14:08:56 | More by curly31989
Photo of Gtg642
Gtg642

Michigan

4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

09-24-2012 23:41:15 | More by Gtg642
Photo of thebouch01
thebouch01

Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

11-14-2012 16:31:27 | More by thebouch01
Photo of PaulyB83
PaulyB83

Michigan

4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

06-30-2014 00:25:44 | More by PaulyB83
Photo of Lare453
Lare453

Florida

4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

06-16-2013 23:24:29 | More by Lare453
Photo of coreyfmcdonald
coreyfmcdonald

Georgia

4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

09-29-2012 16:45:22 | More by coreyfmcdonald
Photo of djrn2
djrn2

New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

08-04-2012 13:50:50 | More by djrn2
Photo of seaoflament
seaoflament

California

4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to hoppymeal for sending me these Leelanau beers, I've had them in my wants for a while and was really excited to try them. Shared this one last night at La Bella with Danny and Joey.

Poured a slightly hazy apricot color with a quarter inch of foam.

Brett on the nose with some oak, lemons, coriander, orange, very floral, pineapple, nectarine, peach, also very fruity, and some white pepper. Nice light brett aroma, hay, grapes and a bit of sweat too. Very appetizing and well balanced, could wait to take a sip of this beer.

Tart lemon on the front, wheat, orange, grapefruit, pear, peach, nectarines, grapes, more wheat flavors, lots of fruit in this one. Lightly spiced, lactic, and yeast flavors too. Nice dryness in the finish and very crisp, would make an awesome summer drink.

The carbonation was nearly perfect, very creamy, effervescent and lively on the palate with a soft fizz. The $10 price per 500ml is a shame because I would love to get a couple of these.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2009 19:44:51 | More by seaoflament
Photo of smithj4
smithj4

New York

4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

09-15-2013 18:37:06 | More by smithj4
Photo of peensteen
peensteen

Ontario (Canada)

4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

09-14-2013 22:00:16 | More by peensteen
Photo of craytonic
craytonic

District of Columbia

4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
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 drbenderdo
drbenderdo

Michigan

4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

01-03-2014 01:32:14 | More by drbenderdo
Photo of superspak
superspak

Michigan

4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
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 Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

4.19/5  rDev +3.2%
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 jasonpeckins32
jasonpeckins32

Michigan

4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, soft yellow color, with nice white huge-bubbles carbonation head.

The smell is a bit tart and fruity, reminds me of an wheat ale with something a little zestier added to it.

It tastes great. Your typical white ale, accompanied by the zesty orange and lemon peel flavor, coriander, and something leaving a tart, almost souring flavor that is somewhat similar to yogurt. Not meaning to make it sound bad, as that is only noticed spottedly, and when really savoring the flavor. It tastes pretty darned good, and has a crisp, clean finish. Finishes similarily to dry champagne, and very bubbly throughout.

Mouthfeel is thin and light, but beer is still quite flavorful. Nice abundance of carbonation throughout this beer makes it even more enjoyable and molds nicely with the dry finish. I really like this one, wish they would sell it in twelve ounce bottles.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2007 04:02:34 | More by jasonpeckins32
Photo of WVbeergeek
WVbeergeek

West Virginia

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2009 12:58:12 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of emerge077
emerge077

Illinois

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.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2007 23:09:39 | More by emerge077
Photo of shroompod
shroompod

Ohio

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.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2008 00:04:46 | More by shroompod
Photo of SpdKilz
SpdKilz

Illinois

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Michigan

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2009 18:51:13 | More by BierFan
Photo of brewcrew76
brewcrew76

Wisconsin

4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Hazy light yellow with bubbly carbonation and a thin white head.

S - Wheat with a tart fruity aroma, lemon zest, oak and some wild Brett funk.

T - Lemon zest and coriander turning quickly to barnyard funk but only for a second before a lingering Sweettart (the candy) flavor takes over.

M - Light with prickly carbonation and a dry finish.

D - I am assuming these are Jolly Pumpkin barrels since they have some of the same Brett/wild yeast characteristics. A tasty wit that has the regular wit flavors with a nice mix of wild yeasts.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2008 23:47:51 | More by brewcrew76
Whaleback White from Leelanau Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 85 ratings.