German Maibock in a Pilsner Glass


Also called a Helles Bock, the Maibock style is an update of the style to conform to the popularity of Pilsner/Lager beers in the mid-to-late 1800s, or a stronger version of the German Helles or “light-colored” beer (aka Heller Bock). The Maibock is lighter in color, less malty, and presents a drier finish with its larger hop profile. What separates the Maibock from other light beers is its balance, toasty malts, and a spicy or peppery taste coming from the hops. They generally feature Pils and/or Vienna malt, with Munich malt, Noble hops, and lager yeast.

Style Expectations

The German Maibock is a relatively pale, strong, malty lager beer. Designed to walk a fine line between blandness and too much color. Hop character is generally more apparent than in other bocks.


Deep gold to light amber in color. Lagering should provide good clarity. Large, creamy, persistent, white head. Ample carbonation is evident from the fast-rising bubbles in the glass.


Moderate to strong malt aroma, often with a lightly toasted quality and low melanoidins. Moderately low to no noble hop aroma, often with a spicy quality. Clean. No diacetyl. Fruity esters should be low to none. Some alcohol may be noticeable. May have a light DMS aroma from Pils malt.


The rich flavor of continental European pale malts dominates (Pils malt flavor with some toasty notes and/or melanoidins). Little to no caramelization. May have a light DMS flavor from Pils malt. Moderate to no noble hop flavor. May have a low spicy or peppery quality from hops and/or alcohol. Moderate hop bitterness (more so in the balance than in other bocks). Clean, with no fruity esters or diacetyl. Well-attenuated, not cloying, with a moderately dry finish that may taste of both malt and hops.


Medium-bodied. Moderate to moderately high carbonation. Smooth and clean with no harshness or astringency, despite the increased hop bitterness. Some alcohol warming may be present.


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