Whaleback White - Leelanau Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Whaleback WhiteWhaleback White

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

89 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 89
Reviews: 52
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 14.32%
Wants: 28
Gots: 4 | 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: 89 | Reviews: 52 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of KCM
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

Photo of liamt07
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of Thorpe429
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of granger10
4/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

Photo of james582
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of alexsergio
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of Dreadnaught33
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of metter98
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
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

Photo of ppoitras
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Photo of SykDoc
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

Photo of SpdKilz
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

Photo of BierFan
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

Photo of brewcrew76
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.13/5  rDev +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.

Photo of emerge077
4.13/5  rDev +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.

Photo of shroompod
4.13/5  rDev +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.

Photo of jasonpeckins32
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.19/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike.

The beer is hazy straw yellow with an inch of white head. The aroma offers soft citrus and light spice. A touch of funk adds a nice touch. Light and fluffy on the palate. Really tasty, though different from a traditional witbier.

Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 7/10/2012. Pours moderately hazy golden straw color with a 2 finger fairly dense white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings on the glass, with some moderate streaming carbonation. Aromas of big tart apple, lemon, pear, clove, pepper, hay, grass, wheat, oak, vinegar, leather, funk, and yeast earthiness. Incredible aromas with awesome complexity and balance of yeast ester and oak notes; with great strength. Taste of tart apple, lemon, pear, pepper, clove, wheat, bread, hay, grass, oak, vinegar, leather, funk, and yeast earthiness. Fair amount of earthy tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of light fruits, pepper, clove, wheat, bread, hay, grass, oak, vinegar, leather, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a bit. Damn nice balance and complexity of yeast and oak notes; with a light malt balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and light-medium bodied; with a very smooth, crisp, lightly prickly, and lightly acidic mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent wild witbier! All around great complexity and balance of oak and yeast ester flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

Photo of Brenden
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

Photo of Gonzoillini
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of curly31989
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of Gtg642
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

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