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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 seaoflament
seaoflament

California

4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
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 WVbeergeek
WVbeergeek

Ohio

4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
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 BierFan
BierFan

Michigan

4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
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 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 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 shroompod
shroompod

Ohio

4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
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 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 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 brewcrew76
brewcrew76

Wisconsin

4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
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
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 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 BeaBeerWife
BeaBeerWife

Michigan

4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Surprised myself by thinking and then finding out that this beer is contracted out to Jolly Pumpkin brewery... Real nice stuff. Wonderful supurb white beer, without the wildness I was expecting. perfect carbination, lovely pour. Snatch this one up!!!

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2008 18:08:00 | More by BeaBeerWife
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 emerge077
emerge077

Illinois

4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
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 jasonpeckins32
jasonpeckins32

Michigan

4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
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 BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
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 Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours with a fully hazy, yet bright yellow-straw colored bee. It is topped by a pillowy, frothy, pale, off-white colored head that starts out a full four fingers in thickness; the head dissipates at a medium pace, but always keeps the beer fully crowned by at least a thin layer of froth. The aroma is a mix of damp spices; sort of a mix of a damp, freshly rained upon earthiness, some definite orange zest, a smooth lemon-like & cleanly earthy coriander note as well as a mix of ginger, white pepper, something floral (like mix of honeysuckle & orange blossom). This has a fantastic nose to it; quite vibrant & actually quite spice dominated, yet the spices are so well integrated that they are not too much. There are some hints of funkiness here, but for now they are really quite soft.

Quite dry and it is well carbonated as the beer froths up as it hits my tongue for the first time. The bone dry character of this beer accentuates a nice, almost biting, tartness that, with the orange zest notes, makes this beer taste lemon like. Despite coming from the Jolly Pumpkin brewery, this is actually quite clean tasting; I wouldn't guess there were any wild bugs here. There is a soft oak character to this beer though; it is barely perceptible at first, but contributes a oak-like spiciness as well as a touch of tannic backbone. Both of these wood-derived notes are noticeable in the finish. The wood is actually at just about a perfect level of flavor integration; it is subtle enough that it is almost not noticeable, yet it does contribute to the character of this brew, even if it is just a supporting role. Soft, zesty notes of coriander sort of blend with the spicy oak notes. The beer is not nearly as spicy in the flavor as it was in the nose; ultimately I think this is a good thing as it allows hints of barrel notes as well as a soft wheat character to come through in the flavor. Flavor notes of orange blossom honey, subtle-yet-sharp lavender, white pepper and young ginger are all noticeable in the taste.

This is a very nice example of a Wit beer. Despite the fact that I was hoping for some wild funkiness (which is certainly not here), I am really enjoying this beer. I really like the mix of spice notes, grain character and the fact that this is bone dry and so light and drinkable; truely a perfect warm weather drinker. I am a sucker for Wit beers and this one really hits the style & more importantly it hits the spot that satisfies my craving for tasty Wit beers. This is possibly one of the best, non-funky Wits out there.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2007 02:10:18 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of nortmand
nortmand

Virginia

4.4/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2006 22:54:24 | More by nortmand
Photo of ypsifly
ypsifly

Michigan

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

Capped 750 purchased at Village Corner in Ann Arbor and poured into a pint glass. No dates.

Slightly hazed straw yellow with an initial two inches of head that slowly sinks to a few cms and leaves a few thin wisps of lace.

The nose has an excellent balance of wheat, orange, coriander, and a slightly musty funk. I can also smell the barrel. Very complex and inviting.

The wheat and coriander flavors are the most noticable aspects but they are again blended perfectly with the orange and wood flavors. Tart, dry, and thirst quenching. Very well done.

Moderate mouth that is a bit puckery and has just enough carbonation to keep it from getting too sharp. Very drinkable as it is on the same level as the St. Bernardus version of the style.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2006 03:58:44 | More by ypsifly
Photo of meathookjones
meathookjones

Virginia

4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2006 15:13:33 | More by meathookjones
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 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 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 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 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
Whaleback White from Leelanau Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 82 ratings.