5. Strong Lager Guidelines

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Ringwood, Melbourne

5.1 Strong Pale Lager

Aroma: Delicate, sweet pale malt aroma. Alcohol may be detectable. Delicate but obvious German noble hop
aroma initially, may be moderate to high. Some hop grassiness may be present. Clean. No phenolics, diacetyl or

Appearance: Straw to pale gold in colour. Medium carbonation. White head with good retention. Fine bead.
Clarity good although an almost imperceptible veil is permissible if served very cold.

Flavour: Bitterness is more obvious than in other strong lagers and this beer has a similar balance to its lighter
cousins. Creamy, complex maltiness balanced with assertive noble hops flavour similar to a German pilsener but
not as bitter.
Mouthfeel: Full.

Overall Impression: A strong clean well balanced lager with a delicate balance of pale malt and noble hops.
Vital Statistics:
1060-1075 1010-1018 20-30 5-15 6.0-7.5%

Commercial Examples: Carlsberg Elephant Beer

5.2 Maibock/Helles Bock [BJCP]

Aroma: 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.

Appearance: Deep gold to light amber in colour. Lagering should provide good clarity. Large, creamy, persistent,
white head.

Flavour: The rich flavour of continental European pale malts dominates (pils malt flavour with some toasty notes
and/or melanoidins). Little to no caramelisation. May have a light DMS flavour from pils malt. Moderate to no
noble hop flavour. 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.

Mouthfeel: 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.

Overall Impression: A relatively pale, strong, malty lager beer. Designed to walk a fine line between blandness
and too much colour. Hop character is generally more apparent than in other bocks.

History: A fairly recent development in comparison to the other members of the bock family. The serving of
Maibock is specifically associated with springtime and the month of May.

Comments: Can be thought of as either a pale version of a traditional bock, or a Munich helles brewed to bock
strength. While quite malty, this beer typically has less dark and rich malt flavours than a traditional bock. May
also be drier, hoppier, and more bitter than a traditional bock. The hops compensate for the lower level of
melanoidins. There is some dispute whether Helles (“pale”) Bock and Mai (“May”) Bock are synonymous. Most
agree that they are identical (as is the consensus for Märzen and Oktoberfest), but some believe that Maibock is a
“fest” type beer hitting the upper limits of hopping and colour for the range. Any fruitiness is due to Munich and
other specialty malts, not yeast-derived esters developed during fermentation.

Ingredients: Base of pils and/or Vienna malt with some Munich malt to add character (although much less than in
a traditional bock). No non-malt adjuncts. Noble hops. Soft water preferred so as to avoid harshness. Clean lager
yeast. Decoction mash is typical, but boiling is less than in traditional bocks to restrain colour development.

Vital Statistics:
1064-1072 1011-1018 23-35 6-11 6.3-7.4%

Commercial Examples: Ayinger Maibock, Hacker-Pschorr Hubertus Bock, Einbecker Mai-Urbock, Hofbräu
Maibock, Capital Maibock, Victory St. Boisterous, Gordon Biersch Blonde Bock

5.3 Traditional Bock [BJCP]

Aroma: Strong malt aroma, often with moderate amounts of rich melanoidins and/or toasty overtones. Virtually no
hop aroma. Some alcohol may be noticeable. Clean. No diacetyl. Low to no fruity esters.

Appearance: Light copper to brown colour, often with attractive garnet highlights. Lagering should provide good
clarity despite the dark colour. Large, creamy, persistent, off-white head.

Flavour: Complex maltiness is dominated by the rich flavours of Munich and Vienna malts, which contribute
melanoidins and toasty flavours. Some caramel notes may be present from decoction mashing and a long boil. Hop
bitterness is generally only high enough to support the malt flavours, allowing a bit of sweetness to linger into the
finish. Well-attenuated, not cloying. Clean, with no esters or diacetyl. No hop flavour. No roasted or burnt

Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-full bodied. Moderate to moderately low carbonation. Some alcohol warmth may
be found, but should never be hot. Smooth, without harshness or astringency.

Overall Impression: A dark, strong, malty lager beer.

History: Originated in the Northern German city of Einbeck, which was a brewing center and popular exporter in
the days of the Hanseatic League (14th to 17th century). Recreated in Munich starting in the 17th century. The name
“bock” is based on a corruption of the name “Einbeck” in the Bavarian dialect, and was thus only used after the
beer came to Munich. “Bock” also means “billy-goat” in German, and is often used in logos and advertisements.

Comments: Decoction mashing and long boiling plays an important part of flavour development, as it enhances
the caramel and melanoidin flavour aspects of the malt. Any fruitiness is due to Munich and other specialty malts,
not yeast-derived esters developed during fermentation.

Ingredients: Munich and Vienna malts, rarely a tiny bit of dark roasted malts for colour adjustment, never any
non-malt adjuncts. Continental European hop varieties are used. Clean lager yeast. Water hardness can vary,
although moderately carbonate water is typical of Munich.

Vital Statistics:
1064-1072 1013-1019 20-27 14-22 6.3-7.2%

Commercial Examples: Einbecker Ur-Bock Dunkel, Aass Bock, Great Lakes Rockefeller Bock

5.4 Doppelbock [BJCP]

Aroma: Very strong maltiness. Darker versions will have significant melanoidins and often some toasty aromas. A
light caramel flavour from a long boil is acceptable. Lighter versions will have a strong malt presence with some
melanoidins and toasty notes. Virtually no hop aroma, although a light noble hop aroma is acceptable in pale
versions. No diacetyl. A moderately low fruity aspect to the aroma often described as prune, plum or grape may be
present (but is optional) in dark versions due to reactions between malt, the boil, and aging. A very slight
chocolate-like aroma may be present in darker versions, but no roasted or burned aromatics should ever be present.
Moderate alcohol aroma may be present.

Appearance: Deep gold to dark brown in colour. Darker versions often have ruby highlights. Lagering should
provide good clarity. Large, creamy, persistent head (colour varies with base style: white for pale versions, offwhite
for dark varieties). Stronger versions might have impaired head retention, and can display noticeable legs.
Traditionally dark brown, but paler examples have become common over the past century. Carbonation may vary
but typically decreases with increasing alcohol content.

Flavour: Very rich and malty. Darker versions will have significant melanoidins and often some toasty flavours.
Lighter versions will a strong malt flavour with some melanoidins and toasty notes. A very slight chocolate flavour
is optional in darker versions, but should never be perceived as roasty or burnt. Clean lager flavour with no
diacetyl. Some fruitiness (prune, plum or grape) is optional in darker versions. Invariably there will be an
impression of alcoholic strength, but this should be smooth and warming rather than harsh or burning. Presence of
higher alcohols (fusels) should be very low to none. Little to no hop flavour (more is acceptable in pale versions).
Hop bitterness varies from moderate to moderately low but always allows malt to dominate the flavour. Most
versions are fairly sweet, but should have an impression of attenuation. The sweetness comes from low hopping,
not from incomplete fermentation. Paler versions generally have a drier finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full to full body. Moderate to moderately-low carbonation. Very smooth without harshness or

Overall Impression: A very strong and rich lager. A bigger version of either a traditional bock or a helles bock.

History: A Bavarian specialty first brewed in Munich by the monks of St. Francis of Paula. Historical versions
were less well attenuated than modern interpretations, with consequently higher sweetness and lower alcohol levels
(and hence was considered “liquid bread” by the monks). The term “doppel (double) bock” was coined by Munich
consumers. Many doppelbocks have names ending in “-ator,” either as a tribute to the prototypical Salvator or to
take advantage of the beer’s popularity.

Comments: Most versions are dark coloured and may display the caramelizing and melanoidin effect of decoction
mashing, but excellent pale versions also exist. The pale versions will not have the same richness and darker malt
flavours of the dark versions, and may be a bit drier, hoppier and more bitter. While most traditional examples are
in the ranges cited, the style can be considered to have no upper limit for gravity, alcohol and bitterness (thus
providing a home for very strong lagers). Any fruitiness is due to Munich and other specialty malts, not yeastderived
esters developed during fermentation.

Ingredients: Pils and/or Vienna malt for pale versions (with some Munich), Munich and Vienna malts for darker
ones and occasionally a tiny bit of darker colour malts (such as Carafa). Noble hops. Water hardness varies from
soft to moderately carbonate. Clean lager yeast. Decoction mashing is traditional.

Vital Statistics:
1072-1112 1016-1024 16-26 6-25 7-10%

Commercial Examples: Paulaner Salvator, Ayinger Celebrator, Spaten Optimator, Tucher Bajuvator, Augustiner
Maximator, Weihenstephaner Korbinian, Weltenburger Kloster Asam-Bock, EKU 28, Eggenberg Urbock 23º,
Bell’s Consecrator

5.5 Eisbock [BJCP]

Aroma: Dominated by a balance of rich, intense malt and a definite alcohol presence. No hop aroma. No diacetyl.
May have significant fruity esters, particularly those reminiscent of plum, prune or grape. Alcohol aromas should
not be harsh or solventy.

Appearance: Deep copper to dark brown in colour, often with attractive ruby highlights. Lagering should provide
good clarity. Head retention may be impaired by higher-than-average alcohol content and low carbonation. Offwhite
to deep ivory coloured head. Pronounced legs are often evident.

Flavour: Rich, sweet malt balanced by a significant alcohol presence. The malt can have melanoidins, toasty
qualities, some caramel, and occasionally a slight chocolate flavour. No hop flavour. Hop bitterness just offsets the
malt sweetness enough to avoid a cloying character. No diacetyl. May have significant fruity esters, particularly
those reminiscent of plum, prune or grape. The alcohol should be smooth, not harsh or hot, and should help the hop
bitterness balance the strong malt presence. The finish should be of malt and alcohol, and can have a certain
dryness from the alcohol. It should not by sticky, syrupy or cloyingly sweet. Clean, lager character.

Mouthfeel: Full to very full bodied. Low carbonation. Significant alcohol warmth without sharp hotness. Very
smooth without harsh edges from alcohol, bitterness, fusels, or other concentrated flavours.

Overall Impression: An extremely strong, full and malty dark lager.

History: A traditional Kulmbach specialty brewed by freezing a doppelbock and removing the ice to concentrate
the flavour and alcohol content (as well as any defects).

Comments: Eisbocks are not simply stronger doppelbocks; the name refers to the process of freezing and
concentrating the beer. Some doppelbocks are stronger than Eisbocks. Extended lagering is often needed postfreezing
to smooth the alcohol and enhance the malt and alcohol balance. Any fruitiness is due to Munich and other
specialty malts, not yeast-derived esters developed during fermentation.

Ingredients: Same as doppelbock. Commercial eisbocks are generally concentrated anywhere from 7% to 33% (by

Vital Statistics:
1078-1120 1020-1035 25-35 18-30 9-14%

Commercial Examples: Kulmbacher Reichelbräu Eisbock, Eggenberg Urbock Dunkel Eisbock, Niagara Eisbock,
Southampton Eisbock
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