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Willy Wheat Ale - Alpine Beer Company

Not Rated.
Willy Wheat AleWilly Wheat Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

149 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 149
Reviews: 50
rAvg: 3.34
pDev: 14.37%
Wants: 1
Gots: 10 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Alpine Beer Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Wheat Ale |  4.90% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-21-2003

An American Wheat ale. More than half the malt used is White Wheat known for a sweetness not found in red wheat or malted barley. Unfiltered and easy to drink.
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Ratings: 149 | Reviews: 50 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.5/5  rDev +4.8%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.29/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a clear golden yellow with a foamy tan head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, wheat, hay, and grass aromas. Taste is much the same with wheat and grain flavors on the finish. There is a very mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer that has a pretty solid wheat and grain aroma, but the flavors are a bit boring in my opinion.

Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev +4.8%

Photo of Texasfan549
3/5  rDev -10.2%

Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev +4.8%

Photo of Thorpe429
4.1/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light golden color with a nice white head. The aroma is of a little wheat sweetness and some caramel-type flavors. The taste is quite similar, with a sweet graininess. A little bit of citrus there as well. The mouthfeel is on the light side of medium with moderate levels of carbonation. Drinkability is quite good here. Alpine has the reputation of brewing great hoppy beers, but I was quite impressed with nearly everything else they did as well.

Photo of kjkinsey
3.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev +12.3%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.53/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bright sunshine yellow with lemonade colored trim. A little haziness would add character, but so far the beer is perfectly clear. The sponge-like crown is polished ivory in color and has an appealing texture. Unfortunately, it doesn't look as though lace will be abundant.

The nose is next to absent (note: warming opens things up just enough for an average score to be granted). That isn't surprising since untoasted wheat and untoasted barley are the only ingredients capable of contributing. A severe shortage of hops (only 4 IBUs) and the use of a non-estery ale yeast strain guarantee olfactory blandness.

Speaking of bland.... that's a perfect word to describe the flavor profile. I'm sure that Alpine was going for something relatively light and easily drinkable, but at some point beer needs to engage the taste buds if a brewery has any plans to sell to craft beer lovers.

Forget hop flavor and hop bitterness because neither one is present. Willy is pretty much a 'showcase' for malted wheat. Each sip delivers nothing more than sweetish cereal grains that taste remarkably fresh and vibrant. That last characteristic is what pushed the flavor score above average. Actually, the sweetness and a vanilla bean quality make it taste more like a cream ale than a pale wheat.

I'm aware that the styles are different, but Willy is what Budweiser and Miller High Life would taste like in a perfect world. I take back the word 'bland' (at least with regard to the flavor). The beer is extremely simple, but it's also pretty good if one has the right mindset. Just don't pair it with food, because what flavor exists would then disappear completely.

The body/mouthfeel is as it should be. It's closer to medium than light, with an impressive amount of 'hang on' and carbonation that is right on the money. Keeping ale in contact with taste buds for a fraction longer helps the flavor make a positive impression.

Willy isn't impressive beer by any means, but that doesn't mean that it isn't good beer. It's grown on me quite a bit from start to (almost) finish and is an offering that I hope Alpine continues to brew. Just think of it as Pure Hoppiness's polar opposite.

Photo of mikesgroove
2.76/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz Bomber served right out of the fridge and poured into a Pint Glass

A – Poured a very nice and crystal clear amber color with a very nice three finger high head of fizzy and foamy white froth across the top. Very nice retention as this hung around for a good few moments before finally settling down into a thin pillow of white the reached across the entire top of the glass and started to coat the sides. Very nice carbonation as there were streams of visible bubbles coming from the bottom of the glass and racing towards the top to reinforce the foam across the top. As the contents of the glass went down there was some nice side glass lace that started to become visible and drip down the sides of the glass giving it a rather nice look for a pale lager.

S – The aroma was very musty and just chock full of malts. This had to be one of the strongest aromas of musty bread that I have ever smelled coming off a brew. To be honest it set me back a little bit as I was not expecting it to be so strong of an aroma. Some other hints inside alluded to lots of grains, and a somewhat muted, but still present smell of apricots, very clear with this smell, and not really sure where it was coming from, but it was definitely there, but suppressed by the large dose of malty bread coming through.

T – Now again I have to be honest an upfront, this was not my favorite thing in the world that I have ever tried. That being said I can proceed. The flavor seemed old to me, like, I know this seems weird, but a sweaty gym sock, if you know what I mean you can figure where it went from there, if not, it was a very musky, almost moldy type of taste with a somewhat muted but still bitter aftertaste, but not really in a good way. It did not taste “skunked” or bad really, just a style and a flavor I do not care for. There were hints of apricots again, and a ton of bread and other malts inside, but to be honest, it just was not there for me. I am not sure just what it was, but every sip seemed a little more painful then the next, so I just chugged the rest of it.

M – Very light bodied ale, with more then ample carbonation; this was definitely trying to be a light crisp refreshing sort of drink. Now had it not been for the taste, it would have pulled that off just about perfectly, as the feel was light, well carbonated, and crisp and clean. It was the flavor that really threw me off and made it quite unpleasant.

D – Now this is a loaded question. On one hand, it is low ABV, crisp, clean and well carbonated with a very light body. Now all of this would lend itself to being a very sessionable ale with loads of drinkability potential. For me though the flavor just killed it. Again it’s hard for me to describe, but it was just a musky old type of flavor that I just did not find enjoyable.

Overall I was sad that this did not turn out as well as I had hoped. I really did think this was going to be quite good and actually was going to try and get some to have as it seemed like it would be perfect to enjoy while watching a game or something, but the flavor was just not up to my tastes. It’s a shame to as I have loved everything coming out of Alpine so far, just not this one. But you know what; I try so many new things I am bound to find one I do not like. I am still glad I tried it though, different, just not my thing.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.23/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear, yellow body with a bubbly, white head.

Smell: It's wheaty, lemony, maybe a bit floral.

Taste: Mixture of pale malts and soft, malted wheat. Medium sweetness. Some tart lemon. Mild bitterness. Sweet, lemony finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: One of those so-so, average at best kind of beers where, if it weren't for these notes, would be instantly forgettable.

Photo of XmnwildX12
3/5  rDev -10.2%

Photo of mactrail
2.88/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Light yellow in color with a slight foam that drops off fairly rapidly. Carbonation on the tongue is pleasant, however, for a while. Slightly sweet at first sip. Flavors are thin. Body is light. A little bit of orange peel flavor. Hopping is "mild and gentle," as they say on the label. Aroma is faintly malty and cardboardy. Drinkable, but it's more like a lager gone slightly off.

Ends with a metallic taste on the lips and some earthy, dirty hops. Certainly the classic flavor profile for the American wheat category, which is turning out to be one of my least favorites. A 22 oz bottle from the Olive Tree in OB.

Photo of kojevergas
2.82/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Uinta pilsner glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high; I've grown to love Alpine within the past week after visiting their brewery. Purchased at the brewery two days ago.

Served straight from the refrigerator. Poured with average vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours evenly, with no signs of flawed carbonation. Pours a thin one finger beige colour head of no real cream and poor thickness. Colour is a clear pale yellow. Looks pretty off for a wheat beer. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Stale malts and plain barley. Background hopping. Stale lemon. Pleasant fresh wheat. Vague citrus. No yeast comes through. A mild strength aroma. I don't get the "nutty" character the label describes. Maybe in the taste...

T: Yeah, a little bit. There's a nutty character there. Plus the usual suspects: wheat, malts, and barley. The nut is mainly on the open, generating a strange structural balance. It's not watery, thankfully - but it is quite simple. I like what they're going for, but it's a bit pedestrian by Alpine standards. There's nothing unique or special here. It's clean and pleasant, but offers little in the way of complexity or subtlety.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Overcarbonated. A touch thin. Loses its body in the third act, leaving an empty flavour that is a rather bland way to close it out.

Dr: Pedestrian. Alpine does far better. This is one to skip if you're getting Alpine. I wouldn't get it again. Something of a disappointment. Overpriced. Drinkable but meh. Low alcohol.


Photo of Halcyondays
3.14/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours a moderately translucent gold. Head is mild with good retention, good thick lace.

S: Lemony citrus and wheat malt, bland.

T: Definite direct wheaty pasta flavour initially. Meyer lemon and almonds as well, mild sweetness. Hop character is very light, just a mild noble type hit at the very end just in case you forgot this beer was made in San Diego County.

M: Crisp and refreshing, off-dry finish. Light bodied for sure, but rather a big beer in this category.

D: Prerry standard APWA though with a little more oomph. Would make a solid summertime selection, but not really memorable.

Photo of woodychandler
3.36/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

My pour resulted in a finger of foamy, bone-white head with solid retention. Color was a sunshine-yellow with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a light malty sweetness. Mouthfeel was medium with a mild sweetness. The label mentioned "a slightly sweet, nutty flavor." I got the nuttiness on the finish, kind of pecan or almond. This was perfect following a day at Petco Park in the blazing sun.

Photo of chinchill
3.75/5  rDev +12.3%

Photo of DoubleJ
1.93/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I'm looking for someting easy to drink tonight, and Willy promises to be the one. 22 ounce bottle, on to the beer:

The head drops quicky to a small plot of thin whitehead on top the beer. Faded golden color, maybe sandy blonde, with a clean filtered body. Yawn. It smells like a cheap macro lager. Sweet corny adjuncts is what I'm getting, odd lemon, funny chemicals, and husky malt. I'm not impressed with the nose.

Why does this have that macro lager corny taste to it? I can't really make out the wheat used in this beer. There's a light floral note, which is nice, but that oversweet yellow corn aftertaste with oddball chemical flavoring added is wipes out the potential of Willy being even a decent thirst buster. Light in the mouth, light carbonation, sort of watery...is this seriously a wheat ale?

Willy is better than some adjunct lagers. But the problem is that Willy is a wheat ale, not an adjunct lager. Better luck next time!

Photo of smakawhat
3.2/5  rDev -4.2%

Poured from the bottle into a wheat ale glass.

Thin head, off white, and very fleeting, barely makes a finger off the pour. Settles to a very thin puck, but gives a thin slightly hazy barely golden lemon body. Lots of carbonation, but barely keepin a two milimeter collar alive. Beer looks a little dead on arrival.

Aroma is not particularly impressive. Slightly dough malts but an off sense of rancid grain a bit. Manages a husky quality but there's an off sensation that almost borders vegetative character. Some decent quality and faint sweetness and chew hiding, but totally buried. Very borderline could go either way.

Palate mentions to show up. A surprising splash of lemon citrus and density, but an extremely fleeting palate. All the flavor is in the aftertaste. Bakery white bread finish and dough. Surprisingly very wet texture, with a flattened soda like carbonation. Warmth brings a bit more controlled flavor and drinkability, as the chewy character seems to build.

There's a good beer in here screaming to show up, but it just doesn't get out. Much better APWAs out there, and unfortunate bit of underwhelming brew from Alpine. Still drinkable.

Photo of brandoman63
3.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of billab914
3.5/5  rDev +4.8%

Photo of iL0VEbeer
3.5/5  rDev +4.8%

Photo of Wasatch
3.5/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks goes out to Bitterbill for this one.

22oz. Bomber

Pours a hazy golden yellow color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy white head, some sticky lacing follows. The nose is malty, yeasty, grassy, some spice, and caramel. The taste is malty/yeasty, some sourness, grass notes, spicy, with some caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, not too bad.

Photo of Cynic-ale
3.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of nathanmiller
4/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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Willy Wheat Ale from Alpine Beer Company
77 out of 100 based on 149 ratings.