Last year, I made a Czech Pilsner and decided to just call it N.E. Pilsner. When I was planning what lagers I wanted to make this year, I decided a Helles and a Maibock would be among my projects and I would keep up the naming theme with these classic continental styles.
Maibock is a style that I’ve always enjoyed, but really came to appreciate on a trip to Munich in May 2012. My first beer of the trip was in the legendary Hofbräuhaus and it was their Maibock, called Urbock (original bock). Everywhere we went, I tried other Maibocks and every one was delicious.
If you’re not familiar with the style, it is a pale lager that disproves the bafflingly persistent misconception that a beer’s strength can be assumed based on it’s color. Maibock’s strength are usually in the 7% ABV range. Their strength is evident, as their lean, mostly pilsner malt bills and low hopping rates do little to mask it, but long aging times at low temperatures allow them to mature into dangerously easy drinking beers. They are lighter in color than standard bocks, showcasing pilsner malt and are the traditional choice for the beginning of biergarten season.
My Maibock contains more Munich malt than is standard for the style, making it sort a bridge between standard Bocks and Maibocks. Otherwise, it is a pretty standard, classic interpretation. It was my second decoction mash. I have included the decoction schedule I used below, along with the rest of the recipe. The beer is currently in secondary fermentation.
Style: 5A. Maibock/Helles Bock
Brew Date: 1/8/2014
Expected Serve Date: 5/1/2014
Expected FG: 1.016
Estimated ABV: 7%
61.1% 11 lb. German Pilsner
33.3% 6 lb. Light Munich
5.6% 1 lb. Melanoidin
75 min 22 IBU 1 oz. German Northern Brewer 9% AA
15 min 6 IBU 1 oz. German Hersbucker 5% AA
White Labs 833 German Bock Lager Yeast
Dough in 3.5 gallons at 105º for acid rest.
Add 2 gallons of boiling water to raise temperature to raise mash to 120º for protein rest.
Pull thickest 1/3 of mash for the first decoction, boil for five minutes, stirring constantly.
Add back to mash to raise temperature, then pull another decoction.
Add back to mash to raise temperature to 155º and rest for 30 minutes.
Pull 1/3 of THIN mash, boil and add back to raise temperature to 170º.
Begin sparging with 170º water and pull 6.5 gallons over one hour.
75 minute boil.
1/8 – Begin fermentation at room temperature.
1/9 – Drop to cellar temperature when active fermentation began.
1/26 – Racked to secondary once active fermentation ceased.
Mid April – Bottle to ready to serve on May 1.