Audrey and I bottled our most recent collaboration (a golden American wheat) six weeks ago and this is only the second bottle I've opened. It may simply need more time, but the flavors still haven't come together for me. It has some earthy/spicy components that I'm struggling to identify; at first I worried that some Brett snuck into the beer, but it isn't developing that way.
I think everyone has some ingredients that always work and others that just never seem to taste right to them. For example, The Henley of Thames strain (WLP023/WY1275) has always given too much mineral from my tastes in an English ale. With this as my first try at a 100% Willamette beer, I'm suspecting that it may be a hop that doesn't mesh well with my taste buds solo.
Audrey's Golden American Wheat
Appearance – Pours slightly hazy, not surprising for a beer with 50% wheat malt. The color is about what we were aiming for, deep gold headed towards light amber. The head is thin, but dense and long lasting.
Smell – The aroma is odd at first with some assertive yeastiness. That quickly evaporates leaving a slightly spicy, bready aroma. The aromatics continue to change as the beer warms, gaining subtle floral and citrus notes.
Taste – It is confusing where the clove/pepper character came from considering we fermented with US-05 in the mid-high 60s F. The malt character is nice, crackery, doughy, with some light caramel. More bitterness than most American wheat beers, but that is the balance we were looking for.
Mouthfeel – Medium body, somewhat thicker than most moderate gravity wheat beers. Middle-of-the-road carbonation, especially compared to the many gassy wheat beers.
Drinkability & Notes – An interesting beer, not as clean as I was expecting, but more layers to the flavor and aroma than I anticipated. I think the spice character can be attributed to the "spicy woody" Willamette hops, although I'm reluctant to say for sure as this was the first beer I brewed with them and nothing else. Not one of my favorite batches, but there really isn't anything really wrong with it.