Picture a rich, creamy Oktoberfest dialed up a notch for the chillier winds of November. A bit stronger and darker, it is reminiscent of descriptions of the famous erntebier (harvest beer) of Westphalia. We’re shooting for 1063 (15.5 °P). Start with Munich (and a little pils if you like), but add about 10 percent dark Munich or melanoidin, and a couple ounces of Carafa for a little extra color. A half-pound of molasses will add a layer of complex flavor and lighten the body just a little. I’d keep the hopping relatively light on this one.
I love the malty aroma and hop-tinged taste of maibock, but I am often underwhelmed by this style. What if we take a page from Belgian brewing and add some sugar for a crisper palate and double up on the hops? I would add 10 percent high quality pale ethnic sugar, perhaps Thai palm (sometimes called coconut sugar) sugar, which brings this full circle to the excellent maibock, Singha. Gravity should be in the tripel range at 1080 (19.3 °P). Hop using Perle for bittering (1 ounce will get you 30 IBU), and finish with massive amounts of Saaz or the American Ultra. I’d definitely recommend dry-hopping with more Saaz.