Whaleback White | Leelanau Brewing Company

BA SCORE
89
very good
99 Ratings
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Whaleback WhiteWhaleback White
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Leelanau Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
leelanaubeer.com

Style: Witbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by putnam on 08-11-2005

BEER STATS
Ratings:
99
Reviews:
52
Avg:
4.05
pDev:
13.83%
 
 
Wants:
33
Gots:
5
For Trade:
2
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 99 |  Reviews: 52
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml format; bottled on 08/09/2011.

poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: A pale and bright straw yellow bodied beer. The beer has 1 finger worth of white head that drops down to a thin cap.

Smell: Lemons, spicy, funky, wheat, and hay. This is not you standard wit beer! Really nice!

Taste: starts off with moderate lemon tartness. Hint of oranges and granny smith apples. The funkiness hits midpalate on into the finish and I would say the barnyard funk almost matches, but really balances the lemon flavors nicely. Some bready and yeasty notes are found in this beer as well. You do get the spiciness from the nose as a faint pepper and coriender notes. I get oak barrel in the finish and some earthiness to compliment the oak. This is not your standard witbeer...its way better.

Mouthfeel: Almost a medium bodied beer, but I am going to says it on the high end of light bodied. Its heavy for a witbeer anyways. Carbonation levels are moderate. The beer feels heavier than a witbeer, but its still really easy drinking. Its tart, crisp, refreshing, and mildly acidic. Finishes a little bit dry and tart.

Overall: Really enjoyable beer for a hot day. More of a sour than a witbeer, but the two styles overlap. This beer has taken the best charistics from both styles and used them to the beers advantage! Got really lucky finding this beer!

 1,349 characters

Photo of jwinship83
4.31/5  rDev +6.4%
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 GDBEERMAN
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

 2,461 characters

Photo of BieresDesMoines
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
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 seaoflament
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

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Photo of craytonic
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
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 Gonzoillini
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of curly31989
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of delgotit99
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Gtg642
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of thebouch01
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of PaulyB83
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of Lare453
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of SaisonRichBiere
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of djrn2
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of smithj4
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of peensteen
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of drbenderdo
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of AlexFields
4.23/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Brenden
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
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 superspak
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

 1,351 characters

Photo of jp32
4.21/5  rDev +4%
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.

 873 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

 264 characters

Whaleback White from Leelanau Brewing Company
4.05 out of 5 based on 99 ratings.
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