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Whaleback White - Leelanau Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Whaleback WhiteWhaleback White

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

52 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 52
Hads: 95
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 9.95%
Wants: 29
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:
Beer added by: putnam on 08-11-2005

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (3) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 52 | Hads: 95
Photo of Brenden
4.22/5  rDev +5%
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. (1,480 characters)

Photo of GDBEERMAN
4.3/5  rDev +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. (649 characters)

Photo of craytonic
4.27/5  rDev +6.2%
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. (661 characters)

Photo of BearsOnAcid
3.78/5  rDev -6%
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. (414 characters)

Photo of mrmiles
3.42/5  rDev -14.9%
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. (874 characters)

Photo of BieresDesMoines
4.3/5  rDev +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. (1,192 characters)

Photo of SpdKilz
4.1/5  rDev +2%
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. (798 characters)

Photo of Tone
3.92/5  rDev -2.5%
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. (390 characters)

Photo of techfed87
4.44/5  rDev +10.4%
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! (409 characters)

Photo of jwinship83
4.31/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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. (1,123 characters)

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.73/5  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. (433 characters)

Photo of gford217
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
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. (936 characters)

Photo of drpimento
3.03/5  rDev -24.6%
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. (424 characters)

Photo of SykDoc
4.09/5  rDev +1.7%
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. (868 characters)

Photo of vrazionale
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
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. (1,400 characters)

Photo of seaoflament
4.27/5  rDev +6.2%
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. (982 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
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. (1,942 characters)

Photo of BierFan
4.1/5  rDev +2%
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. (472 characters)

Photo of paco1029384756
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
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. (304 characters)

Photo of davedahl
3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
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. (1,145 characters)

Photo of shroompod
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
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. (326 characters)

Photo of rtepiak
3.82/5  rDev -5%
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. (520 characters)

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.82/5  rDev -5%
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. (910 characters)

Photo of brewcrew76
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
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. (542 characters)

Photo of scruffwhor
3.44/5  rDev -14.4%
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. (427 characters)

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Whaleback White from Leelanau Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 52 ratings.