How To Brew a Delicious Maibock

Maibock

The Maibock, or Helles Bock, is a relatively pale, strong, malty German lager. You can think of it as either a bock-strengthed Munich Helles or a pale version of a traditional Bock. With a strong malt character, a pleasant balancing bitterness, and clean German lager yeast, this is a wonderful style that is traditionally brewed to be enjoyed in May. The BJCP guidelines are below.

  • Original Gravity: 1.064 – 1.072
  • Final Gravity: 1.011 – 1.018
  • Alcohol by Volume: 6.3% – 7.4%
  • Bitterness: 23 – 35 IBU
  • Color (SRM): 6 – 11

Maibock Ingredients

Malt

The Maibock is known for its rich malty character, which is prominent in both its flavor and aroma. There are no caramel or toffee notes or residual sweetness, but it can have optional light toasty notes. To do this, I use German Pilsner, Vienna, and Munich malts. No specialty malts are needed. We don’t want this Maibock to be too close to a traditional bock, so I only add around 30% Munich malt compared to the 70% – 75% I use for my Doppelbock. I also use around 30% Pilsner and 40% Vienna, but if it turns out too rich for your preference, you can switch these two percentages in later attempts.

Hops

The hopping is simple with a single addition at the 60-minute mark. There is an optional low noble hop aroma so you can add a small amount of hops at the 5-minute mark, but for this recipe, I will not. I like to use Mittelfruh hops, but you can use any noble hop. If you don’t have access to noble hops, you can use any clean bittering hop as a substitute, such as Mt. Hood or Liberty.

Yeast

For the Maibock:

  • German Lager Yeast – WLP830 (White Labs)
  • Bavarian Lager – 2206 (Wyeast)
  • German Bock Lager Yeast – WLP833 (White Labs)

Water

Last but not least, the water. I use a reverse osmosis filtration system and build my water profile from scratch. My water profile looked like this:

  • Calcium: 50 ppm
  • Sodium: 5 ppm
  • Sulfates: 70 ppm
  • Chloride: 65 ppm

Maibock Recipe

The following is a 5-gallon batch of our Maibock. The numbers for this beer are included below.

  • Original Gravity: 1.070
  • Final Gravity: 1.014
  • Alcohol by Volume: 7.35%
  • Bitterness: 26 IBUs
  • Color (SRM): 7.7

Grain Bill

  • Vienna Malt – 5 lbs 5.6 oz (40%)
  • German Pilsner – 4 lbs (30%)
  • Munich Malt- 4 lbs (30%)

Hops

  • 3.25 oz Mittelfruh (2.7% AA) at 60 minutes (26 IBUs)

Yeast

  • German Lager Yeast – WLP830 (White Labs)

Mash

Add your salts, if needed, and fill your mash tun to the required volume and temperature for your mash to drop to 152 degrees Fahrenheit. For me, it was 4.2 gallons at 163 degrees Fahrenheit. After 60 minutes, raise your mash temperature to 168 degrees for mash out. After mashing out, sparge until you reach a pre-boil gravity of around 1.062. For me, I sparged with 4.2 gallons.

Boil

Boil the wort for 90 minutes. Add the hops in as necessary. At 10 minutes, I added yeast nutrients and at 5 minutes I added whirlfloc tablets as my fining agent. Once the boil is complete, whirlpool the wort for 10 minutes and then let it wind down for 10 minutes.

Fermentation

Knock the wort out in your heat exchanger so that the pitching temperature is 52 degrees and then measure the gravity and pitch the yeast. My initial gravity was 1.070. Let the temperature free rise up to 55 degrees and hold through fermentation. Once you are within 4 specific gravity points from your target FG, which for this beer is 1.018 with a final gravity of 1.014, let the temperature free rise up to at least 60 degrees, but preferably closer to 72 degrees for the diacetyl rest. After 48 hours, lower the temperature by 4 degrees a day until you reach 33 degrees Fahrenheit. Once you reach 33 degrees, hold it there for at least 24 hours, transfer it to the brite tank, carbonate it to 2.5 vols, keg it, and then let it lager for at least 12 weeks. After 12 weeks, tap it and enjoy!

If you decide to try this recipe, or another Maibock recipe, feel free to send us a comment and let us know how it went! And if you want to see more recipes like this, sign up for our newsletter below to be notified when a new post is released. Cheers!

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