N.E. Maibock Tasting Notes

20140417-183348.jpgStyle: 5A. Maibock/Helles Bock
Brew Date: 1/8/2014
OG: 1.074
FG: 1.022
Estimated ABV: 6.8%
IBUs: 28

I was worried about the high terminal gravity on this beer, and it does show, but it is not a big detractor. This is an extremely malty beer. Delicious German Pilsner malt and thick, chewy Munich malt character are evident in every sip. All that Munich pushes the beer out of style and into the murky space between a standard bock and Maibock, but as this was my first time brewing either, I was a little anxious to get the best of both.

The color is darker than I expected, though. Without direct light, it looks a very deep red, almost brown. When held to the light, though, it is brilliantly clear, as expected after three months in the fermenter, and the color a burnt orange with burgundy lowlights.

There is barely enough bitterness to balance. The hop bitterness fights the good fight, but it’s definitely losing the battle. A bit more bitterness could be good, but if the beer had finished drier, as planned it may have been too much. As it is, it works but a bit more would not be unwelcome. Hop flavor and aroma is almost nonexistent. The faintest Hallertauer character can be sensed in the aftertaste, after drinking half the glass and finally getting past all that malt sweetness.

20140417-183323.jpgHoney and pilsner malt are all I get in the aroma. Not grainy pilsner malt, either, sweet like pilsner malt in an ongoing mash. The aroma is strong, but leads so seamlessly into the flavor that is almost overlooked when taking a sip.

The strength of this beer does not show. Twelve weeks of aging prior to bottling smoothed out the alcohol admirably. I would not say it is dangerous, though. All that malty sweetness does not lend to chugging. I could definitely see drinking several of these in a sitting, but it would be a very long sitting with lots of conversation to go along with the beer.

This is not a text book Maibock, but I’m very happy with it. I would like to brew another, but I would definitely want to tweak it a bit. At the moment, I’m leaning towards just brewing a standard bock next year. That is still a long way off, though and I have a long Summer of drinking this beer to mull it over before next year’s lagering gets underway.


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