1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

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)
View: Beers (3) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 82 | Reviews: 52 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of muffins
muffins

Illinois

2.33/5  rDev -42.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

We were please to see something from Leelanau, and purchased it more or less without looking further. 750 bottle, 12 bucks.
We were very excited-- we love witbiers and we love Michigan beers.
I noted something in the aroma, which at first was unsettling, and once I identified it (most of the way through the bottle), my companion could not finish hers.
What we smelt was portapotty. Not a metaphor, as in it smelled bad, but rather a whiff was identical to that of a Portapotty.
Taste was allright, but we weren't wowed. It's witbier with a little extra something, which I found doesn't add much to the whole experience.
Particularly at over 3x the cost of 'regular' and very good witbier, we wish it were better...

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2007 04:30:31 | More by muffins
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 scruffwhor
scruffwhor

Illinois

3.43/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a hazey mandarin orange juice color with very little head. Good bubbling and random sediment at the bottom. Reminds me of funky citrus, peaches, white sour cherries with an overall oak undertone. Reminds me of a mild smelling lambic. The taste is a tart fruit with notes of barnyard funk, oak casks, and a little limey zest. he palate is a wet yet almost sour zest. A bit hard to have more than one of these for my taste.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2008 01:50:56 | More by scruffwhor
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 mjohn27603
mjohn27603

Michigan

3.55/5  rDev -12.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2005 23:43:42 | More by mjohn27603
Photo of Scoobydank
Scoobydank

Minnesota

3.6/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

L:Bright yellow color. Very cloudy with a ton of sentiment floating around. The head is a bright white, two fingers.
S: I struggled a bit with the smell on this beer. All I could pick up was a very faint lemon citrus
T: Really tart up front. The tartness is a good lemon zest though.
M: Really sharp fizz on the front of the tounge.
D: This is a good refreshing beer to drink in the summer. Nothing to spectacular, but good

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2008 17:38:28 | More by Scoobydank
Photo of davedahl
davedahl

Illinois

3.6/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Interesting blend of sweet and funk.

The Leelanau beers, if I recall, are brewed on contract by the folks at Jolly Pumpkin and it shows in the brettomyces influence. The bottle I bought was a 1/2L bottle I picked up from the terrific people at Siciliano's Market in Grand Rapids MI.

It pours a bright golden color with a slight chill-haze that dissipates as it nears room temperature. At that point it becomes brilliantly clear even more golden. The fluffy white head consists of very tiny tightly-packed bubbles that dissipates slowly to a thin single-layer of bubbles. No lacing. A smattering of tiny bubbles continue to come from the bottom of the glass for the duration.

The aroma is strongly a wet blanket and horse. A slight bite in the nose that might be cinnamon or the cardamon that the bottle suggests.

It drinks with more bold funk but balanced with lots of nice fresh apples, citrus, and a pinch of black pepper.

Mouthfeel is largely dry - a little lingering tartness from the apply-fruit and funk.

Complex, but seemed like it needed something to "bring it all together". Maybe some citrusy Cascade hops? Definitely see it out.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2008 21:43:54 | More by davedahl
Photo of walleye
walleye

Michigan

3.63/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

from the bottle. poured a lemonade with a big bubbly white head, that left some lacing. aoma big yeast lemony, sourness, coriander, and some other spices that I could not figure out what they were do to the sourness masking them. flavor big hit of lemon and surpisingly got some nice sweetness, than the yeast. I would of like this yeasterday after I got done mowing the lawn very refreshing and easy drinking. but just wondering since this was brewed by Jolly Pumpkin which of thier bers is this close to? I do not recall any of thier beers tasting like this

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2006 20:19:04 | More by walleye
Photo of putnam
putnam

Michigan

3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pale papery yellow with a busy explosion of gas, though no foam. Certainly citrus and brown spices are in here. Watermelon candy and dry doughy scents emerge. Dry as a cracker and sour as a lemon. Glycerin-rich texture is tucked in with relaxed fizz, mellow ripe lemon acidity and wood tannin (presumably from wood.) This is an open, leafy, loose-knit wit, with aromas and back flavors of over-ripe citrus and under-ripe dessert apples. Wilderness flavors of decomposing fruit, leaves and wood tends to dominate the musclebound, root-flavored structure.

This is a completely original take on a Wit as far as I know. Sour and oaky: like stereotypical Wit bred with Lambic. Probably ideal with garden vegetables and fatty seafood.

"Brewed and bottled exclusively for the Leelanau Brewing Company by Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales LLC, Dexter Michigan."

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2005 18:28:29 | More by putnam
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 rhoadsrage
rhoadsrage

Illinois

3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2008 22:17:50 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of rtepiak
rtepiak

Poland

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

definately unorthodox. no hint of the typical corinador and orangepeel. color on the lighter side... lemony straw. similar funk as the jollypumpkin wit, but not as much hoppiness and oak interaction. lighter in funk. crisp think head. almost champange like with good density... lacy, contract slowly into light califlower curds... great volume! cirtus, oregano, oak. lighter on the wheat... nice summer michigan style artisan brew for meat. farmhouse funk works different, will try again to break the witbeir convention.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2008 03:19:19 | More by rtepiak
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 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 Gaisgeil
Gaisgeil

Michigan

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

As wits go, this one is pretty darn tasty and I usually just don't care for the style, but this one really helps me to appreciate them quite a bit.

Pours a very nice hazy gold in color with a tightly formed fluffy white head with great retention. Nose is quite grainy, a bit fruity but not overly so. Taste is a bit sour and spicy, just enough to make the flavors come through but not in an overpowering way. Some citrus tartness combine with the spice well, end note is quite dry with a medium nicely carbonated mouthfeel. Quite balanced and highly drinkable, Jolly Pumpkin makes some very nice beer.

Slàinte!

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2005 08:54:26 | More by Gaisgeil
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 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 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 paco1029384756
paco1029384756

Illinois

3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light gold color with a short off white head and a lot of carbonation.

Scent of citrus, orange peel, spices, yeast, some funk and a bit of sourness.

Taste of citrus, orange peel, funk, and some sourness. Strange for a Wit style, but I like it.

Mouthfeel is light bodied and heavily carbonated.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2009 01:16:41 | More by paco1029384756
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 granger10
granger10

Wisconsin

4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The new offering from Leelanau Brewing Co. contract brewed by Jolly Pumpkin. I had to get it. I pour immediately upon taking this beer from the fridge. Bright yellow color, somewhat hazy along with an airy, volumnous, somewhat fizzy head. Aroma is muted by the coldness of which I first try this beer and so is taste. When ice cold all I really get is a fruit sweetness with a lemony accent. A bit winelike. But after 10-20 minutes this beer really opens up and the flavors meld together. Aroma is yeasty, a bit sour, some coriander in there, and herbal tealike notes. Flavors work together really well. Soft yet full bodied, yeasty yet fruity and a bit hoppy. Really bubbly in the mouth. Spices underlying in there come out towards the dry finish. The yeasty flavor gives this beer a sourness one normally wouldn't find with the other flavors. Some could really like it and some could really hate it. It took me about a glass and a half to really get used to it. More citrus flavors as the beer comes out. The finish also has quite a bit of acidity to it. Finish is clean and rounds out the flavors well. This beer could improve with age except I don't know if the abv will allow it to. I guess I'll have to come back to another bottle and find out some time down the line.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2005 18:15:21 | More by granger10
Photo of weeare138
weeare138

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2006 17:45:13 | More by weeare138
Photo of ppoitras
ppoitras

Massachusetts

4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle obtained via trade with CRJMellor. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a big-bubbled 1 1/2" white head over the cloudy straw brew. Head snow-cones above the top of the glass, leaving heavy foam coats of lacing. Aroma is spices and citrus. Taste is quite tarts, but the spices and wheat take the edge off, making it all work quite well together. Mouthfeel is smooth, even with the tartness, and drinkability is good as well. I'm not the world's biggest appreciator of wits, but this one makes me rethink that position. Nice stuff.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2005 18:11:04 | More by ppoitras
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 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
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Whaleback White from Leelanau Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 82 ratings.