First of Maibock

My homebrew club is doing an in-club style competition for its May meeting, featuring–appropriately–maibock. Flying in the BJCP guidelines as a helles bock, this is a fairly malty, higher gravity German lager. It’s also not a style I’ve brewed before–this provides a great excuse (and is a reminder of how participating in a homebrew club can push you to try new things)!

This recipe is modified in part from one that appears in Gordon Strong’s Modern Homebrew Recipes. I adjusted the grain bill and hops slightly, and opted for an infusion mash rather than a decoction mash. The main commonality is that the recipe is basically pilsner, Vienna, and Munich malt, in descending proportions. I added in some melanoidin to help up the maltiness (particularly since I wasn’t doing a decoction mash). Finally, I adjusted this to be a 3.5 gallon batch, rather than a 5 gallon batch. This is a bigger beer, and I just didn’t want 5 gallons of the stuff!

The name is mangled from a Jonathan Coulton song; apologies to everyone.


First of Maibock

  • 5 lb. Château Pilsen malt (Castle Malting)
  • 2.5 lb. Vienna malt (Great Western Malting)
  • 1.5 lb. Munich I malt (Weyermann Malting)
  • 0.25 lb. melanoidin malt (Weyermann Malting)
  • 0.45 oz. Magnum hop pellets (11.8% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Tettnang hop pellets (2.2% alpha), 5 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 2 pkg. SafLager West European Lager yeast (S-23)

Target Parameters

  • Infusion mash to hit target of 152°, 60 minutes, batch sparge.
  • 1.068 o.g., 1.018 f.g., 6.5% abv, 27 IBU, 7 SRM
  • Water built from RO to hit target of 50 Ca, 5 Mg, 5 Na, 55 SO4, 70 Cl, 0 HCO3 ppm, RA -40


  • To make my brewing water, I added 1.6 g gypsum, 0.3 g table salt, 1.2 g epsom salt, and 3.2 g calcium chloride to 6.5 gallons of RO water.
  • I mashed in with 3.15 gallons of water at 167° (and 4.75 mL of 75% phosphoric acid), to hit a mash temperature of 155°. After 40 minutes, the temperature was down to 152°. So, I added 0.65 gallons of water to bring the temperature back up to 157°. After a total of 60 minutes, I vorlaufed and collected the first runnings.
  • I added 2.75 gallons of water at 180°, let it sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and drained the mash tun.
  • In total, I collected 5.5 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.049, for 78% efficiency.
  • I brought the kettle to a boil, adding hops and Whirlfloc per the schedule.
  • After 50 minutes of boiling, I measured the gravity and saw that it was at 1.058. This was well below my target, so I added 1.18 pounds of Briess pilsen DME to bring up the gravity.
  • After 60 minutes of boiling, I turned off the heat and chilled to 75°. I transferred to the fermenter, and put it in the fermentation chamber overnight to chill down to 54°. About 4 gallons of beer went into the fermenter.
  • I brewed the beer on 10 February 2018, and pitched the yeast on 11 February 2018. Prior to pitching, I hit the wort with 60 seconds of oxygen.
  • Starting gravity was 1.072.
  • On February 24, I let the beer free-rise to 64°. I’ll let it hang out at this temperature for a week or two before cold crashing.
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