Just as the maypole is used to celebrate the coming of the warm season, this recipe also honors the ending of winter and the short, dark days. Maypole Maibock is brewed in the tradition of the famously malty and flavorful beers historically brewed in winter and then consumed in May coinciding with the return of spring and summer. Packed with delicious fresh, clean pilsner malt flavor and layered with a smattering of Munich malt, this lager is then just bittered enough to balance the malt sweetness and fermented with a clean, crisp, and relatively attenuative classic German lager strain. The result is a deep golden beer with a dense and lasting white foam head, and a complex flavor profile with moderately high alcohol content.
- Style: Maibock/Helles Bock
- Fermentation Range: 53-59 F
- Original Gravity: 1.066
- SRM: 6.5
- IBUs: 28
- ABV: 6.6%
- Aroma: Medium-high malt aromas with hints of pilsner sweetness and a noticeable toasty character. Very low hop aroma of faint herbals and earthy spice. Very low fermentation-derived whiffs of faint fruity esters and a tiny hint of sulfur.
- Appearance: Deep golden to nearly light amber color with good clarity after lagering. Firm and lasting tight white foam cap.
- Flavor: Malt flavors dominate with a slightly sweet, grainy flavor and subtle layers of toasty Munich malt. Very low to no spicy hop flavor with moderate bitterness. Fairly dry in the finish.
- Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation. Smooth sipping with a lingering creaminess on the palate. Low alcohol warmth.
Notes from Brad, Northern Brewer Head Brewer:
“In my mind, this recipe is an example of simplicity at its best. Two malts, one hop addition, and lager yeast may sound a bit boring, but the end product is anything but that. The bock family of beers has been around in some form since around the 14th century, and now a handful of sub-styles exist under this umbrella. Maibock (aka helles bock), in particular, is probably the most recent style of bock to be developed and came about by taking a traditional helles and brewing it to a higher strength. Unlike the other bock styles, maibocks tend to be much lighter in color and feature a bit more hop character than standard bock, doppelbock and eisbock. Using just the two base malts pilsner and munich creates a wonderful flavor profile of slightly sweet, grainy flavors interlaced with maillard-rich toasty flavors, and is then rounded out with a single hop addition to add enough bitterness to keep the beer’s flavor perception from being overly sweet and malty. Clean German lager yeast is the final ingredient and will create a very clean fermentation flavor profile while attenuating the beer enough so that it does not come off as overly sweet. Thirsty yet?
The keys to successfully brewing this recipe is all about the yeast. Ensuring that there are enough healthy yeast cells and maintaining proper temperatures is paramount. Ignoring these parameters can lead to several off-flavors and certainly a flawed final product. Pitch a ton of yeast and keep the temperatures in the low 50F range for ideal results.
Don’t have the equipment for proper temperature control? No problem, we’ve got you covered there too. This recipe can certainly be fermented as an ale while maintaining most of the lager-like characteristics. In this case, I would recommend ordering the recipe without any included yeast, and then separately ordering an appropriate ale strain. For best results choose a kolsch, German alt or California common yeast strain, and do your best to keep fermentation temperatures as cool as you possibly can. Year in, year out, spring and summer inevitably return, and this beer is a great way to celebrate the much welcomed changing of seasons. Prost!”
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