Happy Mai… er… “May!” Very soon it will be May and you know what that means? Maibock.
I brewed a maibock (Maibark) this past January and lagered it in my garage over the remainder of Minnesota’s short winter this past season. When cracking the first bottle, I thought it bold yet appropriate to buy a few locally brewed commercial examples of the style and take them head to head against my own. I have high hopes for this brew.
- Shell’s Maifest – the most malty of the three, sort of a noble hop skunkiness about it that wasn’t so pleasant as it warmed up
- Summit Maibock – thinnest and sharpest of the three in regard to both carbonation and hop profile
- Barking Dog Maibark – middle of the road maltiness, some pepper notes and a tad sweet in the finish which will probably dissipate more over time as it was only bottled four weeks ago at the point I opened this one (4/13)29
Got the maibock batch bottled back on 3/18 that I had brewed two months prior. I was able to have it sit out in the garage damn near freezing for five weeks in February and early March before a freak heat wave hit Minnesota. Look how clear this is!
I’ve got two batches in progress right now. Four days after pitch, fermentation on my Golden Gate Retriever California Common has started to visibly slow down. Also, it’s been incredibly warm in Minnesota this week (we hit a high of something like 74* today where the record was 64*!!) so after sitting in in the garage at 38* for the last five weeks, I had to pull the Maibark Maibock batch inside last night (where it had reached nearly 60* Tuesday) and drop it down into the cellar where it’ll get no warmer than 55* until I can find time to bottle it.
Recently, I transferred the maibock batch to a warmer room after fermentation slowed 11 days in. Within those first 11 days, it fermented for 3 to 5 days at 56* then worked it’s way down to 51* for the rest as activity slowed. I then moved the batch to a warmer room on 1/26 where it stayed for about 9 days (until 2/4/12), working it’s way from 57* to 60* for the diacetyl rest step so that the lager yeast could clean up the undesirable by-products of fermentation.
Today (2/4), I transferred the batch to secondary and will work it down to lagering temperatures over the next few days. The gravity was between 8.75 and 8.5 brix (1.016-1.015). Based on the OG of 1.067, this batch is sitting right around 7.1% ABV right now. I plan to lager it for 5 weeks, bottling it 3/10 or 3/11 so it’ll be completely bottle conditioned by May. (more…)
I tried my hand at a maibock back on 1/15, again taking advantage of the long MLK Jr. weekend to brew this year. This is becoming a tradition. Instead of doing a double or triple decoction, I tried to select mostly well-modified malts (the vienna was recommended to be step-mashed but whatever) instead of doing a double or triple decoction as per German tradition. I did throw half a pound of melanoidin malt in the bill to emulate a little bit of the extra body I might get through decoction mashing. We’ll see how it turns out.