Wavehopper | Big Bay Brewing Co.

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3.36/5
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BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Big Bay Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States
bigbaybrewing.com

Style: German Kölsch

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
34
Ratings:
75
pDev:
18.45%
 
 
Wants:
0
Gots:
3
Trade:
0
 
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User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 34 | Ratings: 75
Reviews by beagle75:
Photo of beagle75
4.32/5  rDev +28.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a becker glass.

A: Clear, pale golden color with two fingers of white foam head. Heavy lacing remains on the glass and scattered solitary bubbles rise frequently in the column.

S: Powerfully grassy noble hops are allowed to spread expansively in the nose, fairly dripping wet herbaceous qualities. Malt is very light and bright, accommodating to the featured hops in a traditional way. The smell is clean, save for a trace of sulfur with questionable origins.

T: Begins off-dry, with refined pilsner malt that lends a breath of sweetness, as well as mild hop aromatics that hay. Acidity is moderate, adding an accent of brightness that joins other similar layers. Short-lived herbaceous aromatics are greener during the middle, as malt begins to crouch for a late pounce. The finish, while very mildly bitter, shows resonating husky malt that stays light but leaves a bold presence.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, balanced and lively on the palate, with brisk carbonation.

D/O: As an introduction to Big Bay Brewing Co. this beer makes an outstanding first impression. Hops are allowed to shine, while the beer remains balanced and even aggressively malty at times for such a typically-understated style. A Citra- or Amarillo-hopped version of this beer could be a Gumballhead-killer.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of steveh
3.86/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Stumbled on this by chance a local that's been carrying some new beers. Interesting that it's a brew-pub beer contracted by Point.

A -- Clear, very pale gold/yellow with a pretty firm white head that holds up well.

S -- Grainy malts with a mellow fruitiness. Vaguest sulfur in the background.

T -- Light grainy to bready malts up front, same fruit character follows then finishes with good bready character and a light balance of spicy hops.

M -- Smooth to crisp mouthfeel with a dry finish and light body.

O -- A very nice, clean and crisp beer -- delicate flavor and body with no faults showing thru -- talk about a difficult beer to brew. Perfect for summer afternoons at the grill. I'll have to remember this in a few months.

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Photo of wheatyweiss
3.3/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pils glass.

Pours a champagne clear with active carbonation rising the glass. Modest one finger head recedes to a cap.

Aroma is slightly fruity, a bit weak but crisp. Vinous and light.

Flavor is crisp, grape and light crackery malt. Middle yields to a smallish hop flavor, then comes the green apple. Finishes dry and tart, but light on the grainy malt flavors I usually get from a Kolsch. Huskiness in the grain along with the dusty yeast flavor that I am accustomed to in Kolsch is not very present. The malt profile is thin here could use more.

Mouthfeel is light and crsip, very refreshing. Carbonation is good.

Very drinkable, just a bit thin in the malt department.

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Photo of mynie
3.2/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Asked what it was--since I couldn't see it too good, in a glass case behind the bar. Barrtender said "Wavehopper." Knowing the mindset of upstart breweries as I do, and seeing the word "hopper" in there, I figured it was an A or IPA. But then, to make sure, I said "you know what kind of beer it is," and she said "it's like an ale, I think." So, okay, figured it was an APA, and since I already felt like a bit of nerdlinger for having asked so many questions, I didn't bother to read the bottle before pouring it into to the glass I had requested.

First sip, hated it. Expectations mean so much, don't they? If blindfold you and tell you get ready for an APA but then I pour you some New Glarus Belgian red, you'll probably be unhappy. And, well, Kolshes are just kinda weird, with their fizzy beginnings and ashen backends. You have to prepare yourself for them.

So I took a few more sips, began to tolerate and finally appreciate it. It's a solid Kolsch. It starts out with gentle nodes of lemon and biscuit malt, and finishes with some bittersweet nodes of ash and peat.

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Photo of KarlHungus
2.03/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This beer pours a slightly hazy golden color with large visible floaties. The head is half an inch in height, and recedes quickly into minimal lacing. The aroma is heavy on the butterscotch to such an extent that nothing else comes through. The taste is similar to the aroma, but not quite as strong. The mouthfeel is light bodied with a watery texture, and high carbonation. Overall, this is a pretty bad beer that I will not drink again.

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Photo of FightingEntropy
1.38/5  rDev -58.9%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I will admit up front that I am not a fan of kolsch as a style. Occasionally, I will find an excellent, delicate and flavorful kolsch that I will tolerate and enjoy. Tonight is not that night.

Wavehopper from Big Bay Brewing looks fine in the glass with a white head that falls with a nice lace over a slightly anemic looking yellow brew. Pungent nose has some of the classic kolsch characteristics, but overwhelmed by a sour apple and mineral wafting up. Just as watery in the mouth as it looks, the taste has a barely perceptible sweet malt and a sharp chalky flavor and unpleasant sourness.

In spite of my general beer optimism, I cannot find any redeeming characteristics in this brew. In a phrase, avoid this beer. Unfortunately, I didn't review Big Bay's Portside when I had it in March at Grumpy's in Minneapolis. My simple rating of Portside was much higher, which is what made me hopeful for Wavehopper. While it would take some convincing to get me to try Wavehopper again, my experience with Portside on tap will at least give me reason to try Big Bay again some day.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.22/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz single, Why oh Why did i buy

appearance: served in a shaker pint, macro-clear straw body, light white film - rather unappealing

smell: light biscuit notes, light lemon peel, distant floral notes

taste: unsettling bittersweet finish - otherwise dry with lemon, dough, tea leaves. better than the amber, but neither are worth spending money on

mouthfeel: awkward finish - not crisp/fresh as it should be

drinkability: ok

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Photo of tempest
3.63/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle at Princeton Liquors in Maple Grove. The aroma and flavor have a toasty, creamy barley character with a crisp finish and hints of caramel and grassy, earthy hops. This is a fine summer beer, and I like the barley character, but this is missing some of the light fruit of a great kolsch.

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Photo of Phocion
3.62/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle aggressively poured into a pilsner glass. Light golden straw body with a big, frothy, white head. Good staying power and chunks of thick lacing.

Grainy/wheaty and sweet pils malts. Subtle noble hop aroma, fairly floral and grassy.

Flavor is thin. Sweet malts and a bit of a sulfur-like finish. Wheaty and kind of salty. Smallest hint of earthy hops.

Light bodied and medium-high carbonation. Crisp and refreshing.

Sweet and not particularly clean. Drinkable but not particularly memorable Kölsch.

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Photo of jwc215
3.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours slightly hazed yellow with a thin white head that becomes a wide patch. Some trailing lace sticks.

The smell is of some grain with mild floral notes.

The taste is light - a sweet (honey-ish?) kiss, slight nut from the malt, with a mild floral dryness in the finish.

The carbonation level works well enough to fit the character of the light brew. Leans a bit watery, but not too fizzy.

This is a light, easy-drinking, balanced beer that fits "kolsch" style well enough. It has a "refreshing" quality to it.

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Photo of uwmgdman
3.73/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours clear straw yellow with a thin white head that leaves just a bit of lacing. The aroma is medium-low grainy, grassy malt, a bit sweet and fruity. The flavor is moderately sweet, slightly grainy, and balanced by medium-low hop bitterness and a slightly dry finish. The carbonation is moderate and body medium-light. Overall a refreshing beer, yet still flavorful beer that is great for the summer.

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Photo of robbyc1
3.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of morimech
3.18/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazy straw color with half inch of head that did not hang around for very long. The head settles to a thin cap. Surprisng amount of sticky lacing is left down the glass however.

Has a sweet, grainy aroma. There is a faint Noble hop aroma as well.

We have been getting dry, aggresively hopped Kolsch's lately, this is not one of those. This is a sweeter, milder version. Tastes more like a pilsner than an ale as in not having much of a yeast influence except for a touch of diacetyl.

Light body with nice carbonation.

Certainly respect the easy drinking and low ABV. I just prefer my Kolsch drier and more aggressively hopped.

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Photo of tapman
3.7/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Light dusting of conditioning yeast on the bottom of the bottle, but brew is very clear, a pale yellow, light straw color with a white head that subsides to a thin smattering of lacing.

Nose is earthy and bready; lots of hops for a Kolsch, but I ain't complaining! Mildly sweet pilsner malt aroma with some dry grass, straw notes.

A decent malt backbone, though the hops remind me of cheaper euro lagers. Taste is not clean in the finish as a thin skunkiness sticks momentarily to the palate. Bitterness is moderate and a little high for the style IMO, but I don't mind it too much.

Sticky, yet a little biting. Fits the style.

A decent Kolsch, but a little young tasting compared to traditional examples of the style.

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Photo of gatornation
3.88/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

from a 12 oz bottle

A- pours a clear pale yellow color with a fresh 1 finger white head with a good amount of lacing thru-out

S- was lemon citrus baked bread with a nice amount of crisp noble hops

T- noble hops first crisp,floral with lemon citrus , next were light caramel baked bread malts

M- crisp and sweet with a dry finish of sweet malts and noble hops

O- very fresh and delicious tasted like euro pils

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Photo of Strix
4.2/5  rDev +25%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pale yellow, frothy initial head that leaves some lacing.

Grassy and pilsnery hops, quite fresh smelling, the slightest hint of a skunkier note, but hardly noticable.

Pilsnery malt highlighted by some grassy herbaly hops. Lemon. Cheerios. Grass. Very crisp.

Medium-full mouthfeel, crisp carbonation.

Maybe I was just in the mood, but was really refreshing and drinkable and just hit the spot. Balanced and tasty. I'm impressed, I'll have to seek out more Big Bay.

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Photo of hwwty4
2.14/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured a 12oz bottle into my La Chouffe tulip.

This beer pours a crystal clear straw with a massive 3 inch head that leaves a good amount of lacing. I'm surprised about how filtered this beer is. When I think of a Kölsch , I normally assume they are going to be a clear with just a hint of haze. This looks like its been filters 27 times. The aroma is weak. Its all encompassing cracker like malts. That's all. The flavor is just as weak. Lightly toasted crackers, almost like a unsalted saltine cracker with just a hint of artificial lemon. The mouthfeel is light and a little dry. Once again, it reminds me eating saltines. Overall, I'm just not impressed by this beer. Maybe, if you have a friend looking to get into beer and needs a gateway or like bland Americanized versions of German beers then this might be for you.

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Photo of enelson
3.75/5  rDev +11.6%

Photo of maximum12
3.1/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had a non-beer-crazy friend suggest Big Bay to me so. Despite his very suspect taste in beer, I'm always on the lookout for a good Kolsch, so here we are. 12 oz. bottle poured in preparation for a dinner of raspberry chicken & potatoes with Gruyere cheese. Mmmm.

Pour is...well, imagine all the carbonation in the world. It's now gone. Because it was all bottled up in this tiny little shard of glass. Three pours & five minutes to get the beer into a pint glass. It's yellowish with light-speed bubbling. Smells like a puff of air: not much coming off the surface. Faint grains & yeast if I really pull.

Wavehopper's first sip is promising. Then the aftertaste takes hold like The Claw. Clean, wheaty, & crisp on the front, yeasty in the middle, then an unpleasant...something on the back end. A little musty, almost, but not quite, like a hop twist that didn't quite make it. Overcarbed, seriously, but like any decent Kolsch, easy to down.

This is pretty close, honestly, to being very good. Instead, the carbonation & aftertaste drag this down into the mediocre range. Maybe a couple days old, super-fresh? Either way, decent enough beer. Off to my dinner.

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Photo of Soneast
2.33/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a not-quite-clear, pale yellow color. Grows a mediocre, watery head that recedes rapidly.

Aroma is about what I'd expect with some mild graininess and a light fruity note, with some sulphury, skunk-like aromatics.

The flavor is somewhat muddled. Malty grain characteristics are evident with some unpleasant acetaldehyde and the finish is unrefined and un-balanced. The mouthfeel is a little thick, could use some more carbonation, and I think a bit more carbonic acid would help balance the finish as well, adding to the overall lack of bitterness.

I think this beer needs a little work, the basics are there, but my favorite kolsch's are a lot more crisp, refreshing with a semi-dry finish and a decent noble hop presence. This beer pretty much falls short on all counts.

And oh yeah, their logo looks like cock & balls. WTF!

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Photo of wallrock
4/5  rDev +19%

Photo of u2carew
3.63/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz longneck. Pick this up on a summer road trip through Milwaukee.
A) Pours with a two finger head - fluffy and white. Slowly settles. Clear straw colored body. Fairly sticky lacing on the drink down.
S) Grassy with notes of lemon and "wet dog".
T) At first not much flavor but as it moves towards the finish grainy notes and subtle citrus fruit come to the front. Nutty finish with some sweet malt and linger hops.
M) Crisp. Light bodied. Dry and with tannin in the finish and aftertaste.
O) A well crafted brew with true profile characteristics. I'd have another one.

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Photo of FlandersNed
3/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.92/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into a Big Bay stange.
4.8% ABV, no date.

A - Wavehopper is pale straw yellow in color with brilliant clarity and a billowing cloud-white head. Magnificent retention eventually leads to a plateauing pile and sticky lace clutching the glass like foamy waves lapping the shore.

S - Crisp and open like an afternoon trolling the lake in the breeze, this aroma starts with a grainy pale malt nose with sweet notes of pilsner malt, finishing with a touch of buttery diactyl and sea salt.

T - Dry straw and husky malt make a splash but the ripples die out as the pilsner sweetness rolls in. More butter diactyl joins the party but this beer finishes off with a clean hop addition of floral noble-like hops.

M - Wavehopper is light-bodied and moderately carbonated though slick on the palate, it almost finishes with a lager-like crispness, though not quite there. A tingle of dry, lightly hoppy bitterness for balance enters just before a pinch of minerals and salt beckons for another sip.

O - There's no question that Wavehopper is an entry-level beer that's more or less designed for the masses but, make no mistake, it's fashioned well. This will appeal to the everyman while dropping in enough flavor for the person looking for an easy-drinking, flavorful "light" beer. This is one of my go-to summer beers, especially when wake boarding!

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Photo of sweemzander
2.79/5  rDev -17%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

12oz. bottle poured into a nonic.

(A)- Pours a crystal clear pale yellow color. Some pure white froth with decent retention.

(S)- Light cereal and biscuit-like grains with hints at lemon and spice.

(T)- Quite sweet for the style with a big honey wheat sweetness going on. reminds me of buttered toast with honey. Very grainy.

(M)- Very light bodied but carries a rather potent sweetness for the style.

(O)- I actually quite like the flavor this has, that, and being lighter and crisp, but really very little about this reminds me of a kolsch.

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Wavehopper from Big Bay Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.36 out of 5 with 75 ratings