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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:
Photo of SpdKilz
SpdKilz

Illinois

4.1/5  rDev +1%

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.

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

Missouri

3.93/5  rDev -3.2%

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.

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

Michigan

4.4/5  rDev +8.4%

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!

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

Illinois

4.33/5  rDev +6.7%

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.

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

New York

3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

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.

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

Georgia

3.8/5  rDev -6.4%

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.

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

Wisconsin

3.03/5  rDev -25.4%

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.

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

Wisconsin

4.08/5  rDev +0.5%

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.

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

Vermont

4.47/5  rDev +10.1%

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.

07-23-2009 01:45:50 | More by vrazionale
Photo of seaoflament
seaoflament

California

4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

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.

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

West Virginia

4.13/5  rDev +1.7%

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.

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

Michigan

4.1/5  rDev +1%

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.

05-05-2009 18:51:13 | More by BierFan
Photo of paco1029384756
paco1029384756

Illinois

3.95/5  rDev -2.7%

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.

02-20-2009 01:16:41 | More by paco1029384756
Photo of davedahl
davedahl

Illinois

3.6/5  rDev -11.3%

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.

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

Ohio

4.13/5  rDev +1.7%

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.

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

Poland

3.8/5  rDev -6.4%

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.

08-26-2008 03:19:19 | More by rtepiak
Photo of rhoadsrage
rhoadsrage

Illinois

3.78/5  rDev -6.9%

(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.

07-24-2008 22:17:50 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of brewcrew76
brewcrew76

Wisconsin

4.1/5  rDev +1%

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.

07-19-2008 23:47:51 | More by brewcrew76
Photo of scruffwhor
scruffwhor

Illinois

3.43/5  rDev -15.5%

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.

06-11-2008 01:50:56 | More by scruffwhor
Photo of Scoobydank
Scoobydank

Minnesota

3.6/5  rDev -11.3%

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

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

Michigan

4.43/5  rDev +9.1%

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!!!

01-19-2008 18:08:00 | More by BeaBeerWife
Photo of muffins
muffins

Illinois

2.33/5  rDev -42.6%

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...

11-27-2007 04:30:31 | More by muffins
Photo of emerge077
emerge077

Illinois

4.13/5  rDev +1.7%

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.

11-25-2007 23:09:39 | More by emerge077
Photo of jasonpeckins32
jasonpeckins32

Michigan

4.18/5  rDev +3%

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.

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

Iowa

4.33/5  rDev +6.7%

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.

08-08-2007 22:00:24 | More by BuckeyeNation
Whaleback White from Leelanau Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 86 ratings.